Dr. Gregory Robert Favis, age 74, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, died at home on Saturday, December 7, 2019. Ever mindful of making his passing easier on his family, Greg composed the following obituary. Greg was born in 1945 in Reading, Pennsylvania, to Dr. Edward A. Favis and Josephine (da Roza) Favis. In his early youth, the family resided in a tuberculosis sanitarium in White Haven, Pennsylvania in the Pocono Mountains where Greg’s father was the medical director. It was a great arena in which to grow up, and Greg and his dog, Tippy, had the run of place with its trout lake, pig farms, and orchards. In 1957, the family moved to Daytona Beach, Florida, where Dr. Ed Favis started a successful Internal Medicine practice. Greg graduated from Our Lady of Lourdes School and later Father Lopez High School. He enrolled at Haverford College, a small liberal arts college outside Philadelphia. Although Greg was interested in medicine, he was an English Literature major. He always credited the academic and social honor system at Haverford for helping to shape his future character and integrity. He graduated in 1967 with a B.A. degree. On Junior weekend he had a blind date with a slender, dark haired girl from Bryn Mawr College. Roberta Hendee Smith was to be a constant companion, confidant, and friend. In 1968, they were married outside Princeton, New Jersey. In 1967, Greg was admitted to the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Roberta was also a student at Penn, getting her Master’s degree and later a Ph.D in Art History. Greg graduated from Penn Med in 1971 and did his Internship and 2 years of Internal Medicine residency at Presbyterian-University of Pennsylvania Medical Center. After completing his training, Greg and Roberta left for the mid-west where Greg completed his Air Force commitment with the United States Air Force Medical Corps at Chanute Air Base in Rantoul, Illinois. He arrived at the base not knowing how to salute or how to pin on his 2nd lieutenant’s bars. He left as a major and as chief of medicine and had received the Air Force commendation medal. Greg and family (which now included children Jessica, Alexander, and Amanda) relocated to the Philadelphia area to complete a 3 year fellowship in hematology/oncology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Greg obtained board certification in Internal Medicine, Hematology and Medical Oncology.
In 1979, the family moved back to Greg’s home town of Daytona Beach. He initially had his own sub-speciality practice, but in 1994 he joined Halifax Medical Center’s staff as a hematologist/oncologist. Along the way he was chief of hematology, chief of oncology, chief of staff, and medical director of the Regional Oncology Cancer center. He was also a hospice physician for more than 20 years. He was always interested in clinical research, was a senior investigator with ECOG and NSABP, was an investigator with RTOG, and was involved in many pharmaceutical trials. Greg was a member of many medical associations and he was a Fellow of The American College of Physicians. As a physician, he always took the time to listen to his patients, and he always promised them the truth. He felt it was an honor to care for a terminally ill patient because he knew that they were at their best, then, as human beings.
Greg retired from the practice of hematology/oncology when he turned 70. He then volunteered at the free medical clinic in Daytona Beach and was its medical director for two years. Despite many 60 - 80 hour work weeks, Greg managed to do a few other things. He was always active and tried to stay fit. He loved choral music and sang with many choral groups especially the Bel Canto Singers of Daytona Beach and with the choir at the Ormond Beach Presbyterian Church. He loved to read, particularly the Victorian classics, history, and science fiction. He enjoyed gardening, cooking, and skiing when he was able. Greg and Roberta both became opera aficionados and loved to travel with small group tours. Greg was on the local boards of the American Red Cross and the American Cancer society. He and Roberta moved to New Mexico in 2018, to be near their children and grandchildren and to escape from Florida’s humidity and mosquitoes. Greg was fiercely proud of his family, but like many who spent their lives as servants of the people, he regretted not having spent more time with his wife and children. Greg and Roberta found a spiritual home and became parishioners at the Cathedral of St. John in Albuquerque. Greg is survived by his devoted and caring wife of 51 years, Roberta; his children, Dr. Jessica Favis (Trevor), Alexander Favis, and Dr. Amanda Favis (Luther); his faithful dog, Cheddar; his grandchildren, Beckett Favis, William Fetz, Jacob Light, Elliot Light and Sarah Fetz; and his siblings, Cristina Favis (Dr. Steve White) and Martin Favis (Kathy).
A Memorial Mass will be held Saturday, December 14, 2019, at 2:00 p.m. at The Cathedral of St. John, 318 Silver Ave SW, Albuquerque. An additional Memorial Service will be held January 18, 2020, at 11:00 a.m. at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Daytona Beach, Florida. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a donation to the food pantry at The Cathedral of St John, to Presbyterian Healthcare Services Hospice (NM), or to a charity of your choice.
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