Faith­ful nurse re­mem­bered

Central Otago Mirror - - WHAT’S ON - SUE FEA

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.

Betty Geer

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