Dr Gregory Thomas Keogh MBBS, FRACGP (OX 1957)
Friday, 17 February 2023
Dr Gregory Thomas Keogh MBBS, FRACGP
Greg was the eldest of 3 children and grew up with his two younger sisters in Tallangatta in north-eastern Victoria where his father was a pharmacist. After attending a local primary school, he commenced city life as a boarder in 1950 at Xavier College, initially at the preparatory school Burke Hall, and later at the senior school until 1957.
He started first year Medicine at Melbourne University in 1958, taking up residence at Newman College and spending his clinical student years in the St Vincent’s Hospital Clinical School. He graduated in 1963. During his time at University he excelled at football, initially with the Old Xaverians and subsequently with the University Blues in the Amateur competition. He was a regular member of this Victorian Amateur team and gained selection for the Australian Amateur team in 1962.
After graduation, Greg was a first year Resident Medical Officer at PANCH (Preston & Northcote Community Hospital) in 1964. Subsequently he took up medical positions in Darwin Hospital in 1965 and in Perth in 1966 before returning to Victoria. Here, he joined an established general medical practice at Belgrave which included Dr Peter Campion, also a St Vincent’s graduate. After 7 years he moved to Cairns with his family and worked with the Royal Flying Doctor Service for 2 years before returning to Victoria and commencing general practice at Monbulk where he worked for the next 20 years.
Greg married Shirley Heywood from Seymour in 1965 after meeting her first in 1962 when she was an Arts student at Melbourne University. They had 3 children – Luke, Simone and Ben. Both Luke and Ben live in northern Victoria and work in rural/agriculture industries. Simone studied medicine at Monash University, graduated in 1993, obtained her FRACGP and worked in general practice for 5 to 6 years before studying psychiatry and obtaining her 10 post graduate degree in 2012. She is currently at Frankston, Head of Adult Psychiatry for the Peninsula.
Although Greg worked in general practice at Monbulk for 20 odd years, the lure of returning to his more remote country life led to his buying a grazing property, ‘Cobwell’, in 1990 at Barham, NSW on the Murray River. He ran this property with the help of his sons. However, Greg still had more to offer medically, and bought into a general practice at nearby Kerang where he was a much loved doctor for the next 20 years before his retirement.
However, his love of rural and remote medicine was such that he started doing country locum work, which must have been a ‘godsend’ for the isolated, deprived remote country GPs. Greg’s life at ‘Cobwell’ was saddened by the death of his dear wife, Shirley, in 1999 and other than throwing himself into his work, his life seemed empty. He even went back to his roots when he visited a ‘Back to Tallangatta’ gathering in 2001.
Here he met Maureen Johns who had been a primary school friend. Maureen had worked in Alice Springs for 5 years and more recently for 10 years in Cairns as a family therapist. This meeting later led to Maureen joining Greg during the next year at ‘Cobwell’ where they lived happily until 2019. After selling ‘Cobwell’, they shifted to a smaller home at Castlemaine where they lived together up until six months prior to Greg’s death, when he was taken into aged care where his needs as a dementia patient could be fully met.
Greg had a long career in general practice where his clinical skills were augmented by his extra special caring attitude to his patients, as was attested to by the numerous online tributes just prior to his funeral at Barham, where he was finally laid to rest with his dear wife, Shirley.
Contributed by St Vincent’s alumnus, retired GP, Dr Peter Rush (OX 1957), who graduated with Greg Keogh