Timothy Sylvester Greaves was a leader in the medical fields of histopathology and cytopathology, and he became an inspiration to many in the Caribbean and beyond for his vision and contributions to Christian Adventist education. After an internship, he worked and taught at two medical schools for over 30 years. He was a professor of pathology at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, and was highly regarded by his colleagues and students.
Timothy was a very vibrant Adventist youth who became a trailblazer beginning with his academic program at Caribbean Union College (now University of the Southern Caribbean). He became one of the institution’s most highly regarded alumni through his determination and professional success. His courageous life and work inspired the publishing of numerous stories of his life, including two biographies by Dorothy Minchin-Comm, professor of English at Loma Linda University in 1982 and 2013. He was awarded an honorary doctorate in June 2010 by his alma mater, the University of the Southern Caribbean, and, in 2013, that institution named its new men’s dormitory the Timothy S. Greaves Hall.1
Timothy was born on January 16, 1935, in Bridgetown, Barbados, and was the first son of Elder Eric and Evelyn Greaves. Within a year, his family moved to British Guiana (now Guyana) in South America, where his father was district pastor of the Berbice Region. During his formative years, he attended Mission Chapel School and Parkinson’s High School in Georgetown, Guyana. In his last years of high school, he attended Caribbean Union College Secondary School, Maracas Valley, Trinidad. He continued his college studies at Caribbean Union College (now University of the Southern Caribbean) and graduated in the college’s last twelfth-grade class with an associate degree in 1950.2 After teaching for six months at Bates Memorial High School, Trinidad, he continued his studies at Emmanuel Missionary College (now Andrews University) in Michigan and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 1954.
To study medicine the following year, Greaves enrolled into Loma Linda University’s School of Medicine. Near the end of his second year in 1959, he was injured in an automobile accident, damaging his spinal cord and causing total paralysis to all four limbs. After extensive rehabilitation and still wishing to continue his studies, he returned in 1961 and completed his medical degree with the class of 1963. He was the first quadriplegic to complete a medical degree from Loma Linda University Medical School.3
After his residency in pathology at Loma Linda University and a fellowship at the Los Angeles County Hospital with the University of California School of Medicine, he took a sabbatical year (1978-1979) to lecture at and be a consultant in the University of the West Indies Medical School in Barbados.4 On June 28, 1981, he married Thelda Van Lange, a public health nurse.5 Greaves had an extensive career in medical pathology and became a professor of pathology for 1969-2008. During these years, he became an avid promoter of Adventist Christian education and the training of youth at the University of the Southern Caribbean and served as president of both the University of the Southern Caribbean-Southern California Alumni Chapter and the National Alumni Association.6
Dr. Timothy Sylvester Greaves died on May 8, 2010, in Los Angeles, California. He was buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park-Hollywood Hills, Los Angeles, California.7
Greaves, Norma E. “Dr. Timothy S. Greaves.” In 100 Plus Distinguished Alumni of Caribbean Union College. Maracas Valley, Trinidad: Caribbean Union College Publication, 2005.
Minchin-Comm, Dorothy. His Compassions Fail Not. Washington, DC: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1982.
Minchin-Comm, Dorothy. Of Courage, Compassion and Endurance: The Story of Timothy S. Greaves. Loma Linda, CA: Loma Linda University Health, 2013.
Stoll, Pat. “Life of Sketch of Timothy Sylvester Greaves, MD.” Funeral service program. Vallejo Drive SDA Church, Glendale, CA. May 23, 2010.
Dorothy Minchin-Comm, His Compassions Fail Not (Washington, DC: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1982), 16.↩
Pat Stoll, “Life of Sketch of Timothy Sylvester Greaves, MD,” funeral service program, Vallejo Drive SDA Church, Glendale, CA, May 23, 2010; and Dorothy Minchin-Comm, His Compassions Fail Not (Washington, DC: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1982), 5.↩
Dorothy Minchin-Comm, Of Courage, Compassion and Endurance: The Story of Timothy S. Greaves (Loma Linda, CA: Loma Linda University Health, 2013), 16.↩
Norma E. Greaves, “Dr. Timothy S. Greaves,” in 100 Plus Distinguished Alumni of Caribbean Union College (Maracas Valley, Trinidad: Caribbean Union College Publication, 2005), 41.↩
Minchin-Comm, Of Courage, Compassion and Endurance: The Story of Timothy S. Greaves, 5.↩