Faithful nurse remembered
Well-known former Queenstown maternity nurse aid Betty Greer, who helped usher about 1000 Wakatipu babies into the world between the 1950s and 1970s, died recently, just months short of her 93rd birthday.
After retiring in the 1970s, Greer lived in her Frankton home until last year when failing eyesight forced her to move into the Wakatipu Home.
Greer was raised in Invercargill – one of three children – and at 19 was left responsible for helping raise her 14-yearold sister, Dorothy, when both of their parents passed away due to illness. Greer herself suffered ill health until her early 30s.
She was a well-known face in Invercargill’s H & J Smiths department store where she ran the cosmetic and wool counter, and starred in the then famous twice-yearly H & J Smiths’ fashion shows as a model. She then moved to the Wakatipu where she worked as the tea lady on the TSS Earnslaw, and then as a housekeeper on Earnslaw Station, near Glenorchy.
Greer moved back to Queenstown where she scored a role as nurse aid and assistant to the legendary Sister Myrtle Buddle, who herself only died in 2009, aged 96.
‘‘She loved her job and we regularly have people tell us still today that Betty helped deliver their baby,’’ says proud sister, Dorothy Young, of Invercargill.
Greer was quite vocal about things she felt passionate about and spoke out when her dear friend, Buddle, was forced to leave the district for adequate hospital care in her 90s.
‘‘She also had a strong and wonderful faith,’’ Young said.
Greer and Buddle became best friends and were inseparable. ’’They were like Batman and Robin,’’ says Queenstown cousin, Earnslaw skipper Peter Greer.
They lived near the old maternity home in Sydney Street - now a backpackers lodge - and the local GP, Dr Anderson, also lived next door, on land now occupied by the Millennium Hotel.