Cornelius O (Skip) Granai III
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Cornelius O (Skip) Granai III

Ashaway, RI - Cornelius O (Skip) Granai III, 71, died from cancer on June 28 in his home in Ashaway, Rhode Island surrounded by the love of family.

Skip, the son of Ki and Loraine Granai, grew up in Barre, Vermont in a home across from the Lincoln School playground where there was always a ballgame to join. He graduated from Spaulding High School in the class of 1966 and graduated from the University of Vermont in the class of 1970. He had joined Army ROTC while in college and served before going back to school. Skip went on to earn a master's degree in cell biology from the University of Vermont in 1973 and his medical degree from the University of Vermont, College of Medicine in 1977. He served a residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Tufts University, School of Medicine and completed a fellowship in gynecological oncology at New England Medical Center.

Over the course of his professional life, he was on the faculties of Tufts, Harvard and Brown Universities and on the staffs of the New England Medical Center and Massachusetts General Hospital, ultimately ending up at Women & Infants Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island where he became the Director of Women's Oncology and Executive Chief of Oncology for Care New England. That innovative, patient-centered program emphasized the importance of the arts and the heart in equal parts with medical knowledge in the practice of medicine. He taught the many oncology fellows and residents he trained to keep "fighting the good fight." Central to this belief is advocating strongly for what they learn is right from being at a patient's bedside and by remembering the values and privilege that brought them to medicine in the first place. He became a sought-after speaker and spread his message throughout the world. Skip loved his work and would have done it unsung, but he was awarded many honors, among them the Arnold P. Gold Foundation Humanism in Medicine Award, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Cancer Society and the Kaali Award which he received in Hungary for his "invaluable and lasting contribution in gynecologic oncology and integrative care, for his motivational speeches worldwide, and for his passionate humanism."

Those who know Skip understand that he would be embarrassed by a listing of any professional achievements. (His family usually found out about them because someone in his office would send his parents a notice.) He would much rather talk about anything else, especially something that would have him at odds with many of the people in a room. His wit and barbs were quick and his humor was ever-present. His skill at arguing his point led to many extended family dinners where those in the younger generation could learn the fine art of defending their beliefs. His keen understanding of human nature and his caring heart showed clearly in the poetry he wrote and the music he loved. He found inspiration in the beauty of the farm on which he lived and the work he would do on it. His final speaking engagement entitled "Moo" blended the farm and his life-long message of the humanistic way of practicing medicine.

Above all of the other things in his life, he cherished his children. He loved their spirits, perspectives, and most importantly, their hearts. He knew what they could do, and he did all he could to encourage the best in them to come out whether in sports, arts, presentations or any other endeavor, and he taught them how to appreciate what new things life has to offer while respecting what and who came before. His support of the whole family will be sorely missed.

Skip is survived by Ann Kirby of Ashaway, Rhode Island, his loving partner; his four children Lieutenant Colonel Cornelius O (Tad) Granai IV (wife Lindsey, children Hannah and Lilah) of East Greenwich, Rhode Island; Robert Granai (wife Audra, children Ava, Tyler and Ella) of Mapleville, Rhode Island and their mother Mary Manzi; Lily Granai and Kile Granai of Providence, Rhode Island and their mother Cheryl Granai. His sisters Susan Granai (husband David Van Slyke) of Yarmouth, Maine and Mary Corrigan (husband Ed) of Northfield Falls, Vermont; beloved nieces and nephews, caring aunts and cousins, faithful dog Jenna, and extended family in which he would include his many colleagues.

If so inclined, memorial contributions can be made to:

The Skip Granai Endowed Lectureship "Humanism in Medicine: What Matters Matter" at https://foundation.womenandinfants.org/ (online designation: "Lectureship in Honor of Skip Granai") or payable to "Women & Infants Foundation" (memo: "Skip Granai Endowed Lectureship") addressed to WIH Philanthropy Department, 300 Richmond Street, Providence, RI 02903.

The University of Vermont, Larner College of Medicine, Medical Alumni Association Scholarship Fund at http://www.med.uvm.edu/alumni/support (online designation: "Medical Alumni Association Scholarship") or call for more information at (802) 656-4014.

A celebration of Skip's life will take place in the future.





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Published in The Burlington Free Press from Jun. 30 to Jul. 1, 2020.
MEMORIES & CONDOLENCES
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21 entries
July 3, 2020
As Winston Churchill sort of said, Never in the history of GYN oncology has so much been owed by so many to some one!

With personal affection and professional respect, and tremendous sorrow,
Rick Crootof, MD
Referring physicians
Rick Crootof
Coworker
July 2, 2020
I was 32 years old when I was diagnosed with cervical cancer. Dr. Granai (or I so fondly called himThe Big Man). Dr. Granai walked with me for 4 months through a very aggressive treatment. I am now 60 years old and was able to walk my daughter down the aisle and to see my very special nieces and goddaughters be born. I am here today ALL because Dr. Granai was the most intelligent, caring person who treated me like a person and not just a patient. I will miss him dearly - he has a very special place in my heart and always will.
My deepest condolences to to his entire family, friends, co-workers and all those who loved him.
Joyce
Friend
July 2, 2020
In loving memory of a wonderful person. We will love you and miss you always.
GARY and JANET BENWAY
Family
July 2, 2020
My thoughts and prayers are for Skip's family. I knew him as a colleague
during my 10 years teaching in New England and for many years while attending SGO and IGCS meetings. He was incredibly smart and had a wonderful sense of humor.
John Powell M. D.
Acquaintance
July 2, 2020
I first met Skip in 1993 when I came to Women and Infants as a medical student. I was in my senior year of med school and I did a rotation with Skip. During that month of long days on the oncology team I fell in love with Women and Infants and the doctors and nurses on the 4th floor. Fast forward to Match Day 1994, I was the happiest medical student to learn that I would be training at Women and Infants and I credit Skip for supporting me. During my career as a general ObGyn at both Westerly Hospital and Women and Infants I was privileged to work with Skip and his team on my patients with Gyn Cancer. I always enjoyed running into him in the hospital over the years, I love his personality, sense of humor and wisdom.
In 2017 I became injured and was no longer able to practice. I reached out to Skip to meet with him because I wanted to let him know how grateful I was to know him and how much I appreciate his support of my career. We corresponded but the meeting never happened. I learned that he had become more ill last week and on Sunday that he had passed.
Skip, thank you for all you contributed to your patients, the hospital community and your trainees. My most sincere condolences to Skips family and loved ones. You will be missed.
Suzanne Damek
Friend
July 2, 2020
While attending Tufts Medical School, a fellow student recommended doing a rotation at Women and Infants in Gyn Oncology with Skip Granai. July 1993 I spent a month working with the Onc team and even though the days were very long, I loved being at W&I and especially working with the amazing doctors and nurses there. On Match day 1994, I was the happiest med student ever when I matched at Women and Infants and I know Skip's support was very helpful in making that happen! Over the years of working at Westerly Hospital and Women and Infants I enjoyed working with Skip and his team in helping my patients with Gyn cancer.
Two years ago I was injured and became unable to practice. I reached out to Skip because I wanted to thank him personally for his friendship and support. I learned last week that he had taken a turn for the worst and bought a card only to learn that he had passed away on Sunday. I so badly wish I had taken him up on his offer to meet for coffee over the past few months. Skip, you were an amazing doctor, person and friend and my lesson from this is don't wait to tell someone how important they are to you! May you rest in peace and know that you are loved and missed.
Suzanne Dambek, MD
Coworker
July 2, 2020
Very saddened to learn of Dr 'Skip' Granai's passing. Our love & prayers are with his family & 'extended family'.

Skip was an extraordinary human being, who's gifts & talents lead to the saving & enhancement of so many lives. Our son & my lives are two of them. We were SO fortunate to have Dr Granai & Dr Doreen Wiggins come into our lives over 27 years ago, with an immense role in our survival, and more than that.

There was never just the sterile technical protocol for fighting the cancer, and living beyond cancer. Grace, creativity, and a sincere caring was always at the core of treatment. Sensitivity to 'what matters' prevailed.

'They are not dead who live in the hearts they leave behind' - Tuscarora, Native American

Skip remains in our hearts. We're so grateful God had him in our and so many other lives.
Sheila Morris-Sardinha
July 1, 2020
My sincerest condolences to Skips family and friends. I attended an ACOG conference as a resident where I met Skip. He spoke with vigor, love, and determination. His words touched the soul. Skip did Gods work. He made the world a better place and he inspired others to do the same. While my interaction with him was brief, he impacted my practice of medicine and I hope to pass on what he taught me.
Parin Patel
Acquaintance
July 1, 2020
I am so fortunate to have had Skip as a friend and mentor. He did so much for so many and ask for so little in return.
I can hear him laughing at all the fuss. What a gift he was to this world!
Debra Fitch
Friend
July 1, 2020
I was so sorry to learn of Skips passing. May you be comforted by your blessed memories
Ellen Frankel MD
Ellen Frankel
Friend
July 1, 2020
Dr graniai saved my mom's life. Our family had my mom for almost 30 years because of this wonderful man. Love you dr granai. I will never forget you! You became friends with my parents and now reunited in heaven. God bless his entire family. You were one of the lucky ones to have had an angel on earth
Nancy Deady
July 1, 2020
Skip, You Are A Spectacular Man. Your Loss Is Our Loss. A Great Doctor, Friend, & Human Being. I Will Miss You Terribly. Your Legacy Will Live On Forever, In All The Lives You Saved. I Hope Woman & Infants Will Hold You In Highest Respect . Good By My Friend. Andrea Campanile
Andrea Campanile
Coworker
July 1, 2020
My sincere condolences to Dr Granai's family and all who loved him. I pray that you may find comfort in beautiful memories that you shared together. Dr Granai has left a tremendous mark on the world he will never be forgotten. RIP Skip
Vera Iacampo
Vera Iacampo
July 1, 2020
May Dr. Granai reap the Eternal Rewards of his Exemplary Life!
He saved my daughter's life 24 years ago! Ever Grateful!
Mary F Bartholomew
Acquaintance
July 1, 2020
I will miss his sense of humor and his coy smile . I had the pleasure of working with him for the past 30 years and WIH. He was , in all respects, a great human being! Sending prayers and sympathy to his family
Nicolette Matthews
Coworker
July 1, 2020
Dr. Granai came into our lives in 2016, when we desperately needed hope; my life was at stake with the discovery of a most invasive cancer. He saved our family that stands today as a unit because of his skill, caring and focus. There was never a time that I thought he wouldn't make things better.

Dr. Granai was a gentle soul, with sensitivity and empathy for his patients that went beyond the competencies of a skilled doctor and surgeon. He was, above all, a fine and upstanding person who has changed the lives of many. His loss is felt at our core.
Lee A Silvestre
Friend
July 1, 2020
A talented physician, an innovative thinker and doer, a genuine human being, a devoted father and someone who left the world in a better place, never to be forgotten. My sincere condolences to all of his loved ones.
Jane Miller
Coworker
July 1, 2020
I have great memories of Dr. Granai caring for my mother during a horrible time for our family. He was a caring straight shooter, we appreciated that!
Laurie Morris
Acquaintance
June 30, 2020
Janet Granai- Benway
Family
June 30, 2020
Our beloved Doctor (Skip) will forever live in our hearts. The Oncology family.
Nubia Lopez
Coworker
June 30, 2020
I really didnt know Skip that well personally but my daughter and her friends adored him. Skip came to my husbands funeral and, if I remember correctly, he wore a bow tie - my husband only wore them.... rest in peace, Skip! Peace is yours.....
Ina Fuchs
Acquaintance
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