Celebrating 100 Years ~ 1920 - 2020
The Virginia Society of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery gratefully acknowledges the continued support of the Elbyrne G. Gill Eye and Ear Foundation in Roanoke, Virginia. Each year, our guest speaker presents the named lectures at our annual meeting.
Dr. Elbyrne Grady Gill was born in Bedford County, Virginia, October 21, 1891. His parents were Dr. Stonewall Jackson Gill and Mittie Lillian Page Gill. Following his father, he graduated from Vanderbilt Medical School in 1916. After graduation, he worked at the New York Eye & Ear Infirmary from 1917 to 1918. In 1919, he began his private practice in Roanoke, Virginia. He married Ruth Houck Meals June 26, 1923, with three daughters, Edith Page, Jean Vaughan and Betty Byrne, the results of that marriage. He founded Gill Memorial Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat Hospital in Roanoke in 1926, and in 1927, began the first post graduate course for ophthalmologists and otolaryngologists in the country.
During the years of the courses, he had famous lecturers such as Sir Alexander Fleming, discoverer of penicillin, Dr. Selman Waksman, discoverer of streptomycin, Commander Best, co-discover of insulin and the Mayo brothers from the Mayo Clinic. Dr. Gill did post graduate work at the University of Pennsylvania in 1930 and received additional training in Berlin, Vienna and London in 1936. He was on the board of the Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind, Chairman of the Board of Health in Roanoke, president of the Roanoke Academy of Medicine in 1950-51, was a Mason and was a trustee for the Roanoke Public Library system. As a member of the Roanoke Lions Club, he held numerous local and state offices and rose to be president of Lions International. He invited Helen Keller, who came to Roanoke as a speaker for a Lions meeting, and had the Byrd brothers, Tom, Dick (Admiral Richard) and Harry (Senator of Virginia), attend a national Lions function in Providence, Rhode Island.
He was also the Chairman of the Board of the Salvation Army in Roanoke. Always interested in civic improvements, he worked to obtain a new Health Dept. building, a sports stadium and a civic auditorium for Roanoke. He was president of the Roanoke Boosters, a group that had an annual day outing to the Greenbrier or the Homestead Hotel resorts. He was Chairman of the Board of Deacons at Calvary Baptist Church and taught the Young Men’s Bible Class there for a number of years. Dr. Gill died in Roanoke in 1966.