Howard Graney studied osteopathic medicine not to serve humanity, but rather to escape his job in a tailor shop. His needle-and-thread experiences contributed to his outstanding surgical skills, and the 1933 Des Moines University graduate also became renowned for his unwavering commitment to his patients.
Dr. Graney had a wall phone installed by his family’s dinner table so he would never miss a call from a patient, day or night. He was known to purchase children’s activity books to comfort and occupy young hospital patients. At the 1977 convention of the American College of Osteopathic Surgeons, where Dr. Graney received the college’s highest award, the Orel F. Martin Awars3d, he gently lectured colleagues that surgeons shouldn’t have unlisted numbers or use answering services.
Dr. Graney taught and mentored numerous younger surgeons, too.
“He had just a great demeanor, one that could take individuals and mold them,” says Dr. Norman Rose, a 1963 DMU graduate and a surgeon who trained under Dr. Graney. “That’s what he did with the people he trained.”
Dr. Graney died in 2005, but the Howard A. Graney Surgery Fund continues to benefit students and residents preparing to enter surgical careers. The fund helps cover costs of attending conferences and other training opportunities and offers monetary awards for outstanding teaching, writing and leadership in surgery.