George Cragg was the first white child born in Peace River, Alberta, where his father built a prize-winning ranch house as well as the one-room schoolhouse that George and his two sisters attended. He grew up on a farm, milked cows, herded cattle, and enjoyed the many chores and pleasures of rural life. He also learned to play the violin. Well.
George studied arts at the University of Alberta and obtained a teaching certificate. He began teaching in a public school and for the next 3 years some of his students were older than he was. He then became the principal of Fairview High School in northern Alberta.
Like many of his age, he had his life interrupted by the Second World War. These years included sorties in Lancaster bombers.
Peacetime found him enrolled in medical school at Queen’s University. During his undergraduate years he was appointed chief justice of the Aesculapian Court for 2 years. In his final year he was class president and gave the valedictory address. He graduated MD CM.
In 1951, after interning at St. Paul’s Hospital, George set up a solo practice on Marine Drive in North Vancouver. He immediately became the local physician for the Department of Indian Affairs. His practice grew quickly and by 1953 it was a two-man practice, and soon three and then four. He practised in North Vancouver until 1986.
George’s life included much hard work, many joys, but also tragedies. His oldest son, Geoffrey, who worked in general practice with his father for a short time, was nearing the end of his specialty training in Calgary (orthopaedics) when he was murdered in front of his wife and four children. Geoff was 45. Five years later, George’s dear wife Margaret died, and 3 months later their grandson Damon died in a tragic accident at the age of 17.
George served a term as chief of staff at Lions Gate Hospital as well as a North Shore representative on the BCMA Board of Directors. He was a senior member of the CMA.
We will remember George for his cheery personality, his deep concern and devotion to his patients, and his love of family. We offer condolences to his sons George, Greg, and Peter, and to his daughter Judy, as well as his sister Ena. George’s other sister, Kay, passed away 1 week before his celebration of life.
—W. James Corbett, MD
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