Dr. Ignatius Francis Greene

Dr. Ignatius Francis Greene

Dr. Ignatius Francis Greene, 85, of Decorah, Iowa and Naples, Florida, passed away Saturday, March 21st, 2020 at Winneshiek County Medical Center surrounded by family, after an eight-month battle with lung cancer.

A memorial Mass will be held at St. Francis de Sales Church, 418 East Main Street, Ossian, Iowa after the Coronavirus is contained and will be announced at a later date. A luncheon will be served after Mass at Oneota Golf & Country Club, 1417 Golf Road, Decorah, Iowa. His ashes will be returned to Ireland for burial.

Ignatius, known as Dr. Greene, Nacy and sometimes Iggy, was born to Dr. Patrick Joseph (PJ) and Josephine (O’Dea) Greene, on July 31st, 1934, with an identical twin brother, Alphonsus Thomas (Foncie). Named after Catholic Saints and the youngest of four children, Nacy and Foncie were born at home in Loughrea, a small town near Galway, Ireland. The boys attended boarding school at Garbally College near Ballinasloe. They spent a lot of time in Kinvara, a seaport village south of Galway, where they frequently boated and the Greene family owned a hotel and restaurant.

Nacy graduated from National University of Ireland Galway-Medical School in 1958. After graduating, he completed a residency at Mercy Hospital in Chicago with his brothers and Dr. Joseph Callaghan. He returned to Ireland and continued his medical training as Assistant Surgeon on cruise ships that travelled throughout Asia. After the ships, he spent four years working in an Irish hospital getting experience in a variety of specialties, but he always wanted to return to the United States to continue his career.

In 1965, Nacy received a letter from Monsignor Vernon Peters, the pastor of St. Francis de Sales Church, inviting him to become the local doctor in Ossian, Iowa. His dear friend, Dr. Callaghan, was a Surgeon in neighboring Decorah, so he accepted the invitation. After marrying Sheila Fairgrieve on January 1st, 1966, the couple boarded a boat and traveled to Iowa to pursue his dream of practicing family medicine in America.

Being a family physician was the greatest joy of Nacy’s life. He opened his Ossian practice on February 14th, 1966. He regularly received calls at home from patients about medical conditions and scheduled personal vacations around his pregnant patients’ due dates. He was known for a direct communication style, being a talented diagnostician and wearing a jacket and tie every day. He was certified as a Fellow by the American Academy of Family Physicians in 1980. After operating as a solo practitioner for 26 years, he affiliated his practice with Gundersen Clinic in 1992, which allowed him to focus on patient care and shed the responsibility of running a business. He continued serving patients in Ossian, expanded his practice to Decorah and became a wonderful mentor to the next generation that is contributing to Northeast Iowa’s medical community today. After dedicating 46 years to exceptional medical care, delivering over 700 babies and caring for three generations of families, Nacy retired in 2012. In retirement, he was a volunteer physician at the Naples Friendship Center while he spent winters in Florida.

Nacy was a brother, husband, father, uncle and grandfather. He shared an especially close bond with his identical twin, Foncie, and kept in close contact with his older siblings, Angela and Paddy. Nacy and Sheila had two daughters, Jennifer and Suzanne, to whom he was an incredible father. When Foncie passed away unexpectedly in 2008, Nacy’s role as an uncle became more important to Foncie’s daughters – Emma, Rachel, Rebecca and Juliette – he was like their 2nd dad. When Jennifer married Scott in 1996, Nacy truly got the son he always wanted. He and Scott shared a love of golf, bourbon and cars. Nacy adored his grandchildren, Austen and Jessica, and constantly kept them laughing.

There will never be a shortage of Nacy Greene stories; many would say he was the funniest man they knew. Every round of golf was a new adventure, serving up unpredictable behavior and the most colorful language. His favorite pastime was torturing salespeople by test driving BMWs, year-round, when there was a brand new one in his garage. Nacy would make you drive 20 miles off route to save money at Costco Gasoline. He had no sense of direction, was constantly lost, but adamant about which way to go. Not a week went by without a Culver’s fish dinner or bowl of potato soup. He had a way of making you feel like the most important and interesting person in the room. Nacy was the life of every party and loved great “craic” – an Irish term for fun conversation and banter. He was happiest having a “bump” of bourbon, singing Galway Bay, and sometimes breaking into an Irish jig. Most of all, Nacy loved his family and cared for his patients, colleagues and friends, as if they were family.

Nacy is survived by his daughters, Jennifer (Scott) Bahr and Suzanne Greene; ex-wife, Sheila (Fairgrieve) Greene; siblings/siblings-in law: Patrick (Liv) Greene, Elizabeth Greene; nieces/nephews: Cynthia Powell, Philip (Bríd) Powell, Amanda (Vincent) Keaveny, Emma (Patrick Lea) Greene, Rachel (Alan Stapleton) Greene, Rebecca (fiancé Rob Whelan) Greene, Juliette (Conor McGowan Smyth) Greene; grandchildren, Austen and Jessica Bahr; first cousin, Yvonne (Tom Lawler) Greene; and several other cousins, grandnieces and grandnephews.

Preceded in death by parents, PJ and Josephine (O’Dea) Greene; siblings/siblings-in-law: Alphonsus Greene, Micheline (Lappin) Greene, Angela and Stanley Powell; and several aunts, uncles and cousins.

Jennifer and Suzanne would like to thank family, friends, and colleagues for the constant support provided during this most difficult time. Thank you also to the medical professionals who treated Nacy at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota and Winneshiek County Medical Center and Hospice in Decorah, Iowa. A special thank-you to Dr. Janet Ryan, Dr. Bill Remington, Nancy Haberichter, Jolynn Miller, Nancy Hovden, Jenny Stegen, Cindy Linderbaum, Jeanne Frana and the entire WMC nursing staff for providing around the clock care during the last week of his life.  Your efforts, care, dedication and compassion will never be forgotten.

In lieu of flowers, the family would like donations to go to Winneshiek County Medical Center Hospice, 801 Montgomery Street, Decorah, Iowa 52101. 



Rate this article: 
Average: 5 (1 vote)
Comment Here