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.