LT. COL. FIELDING LEWIS GREAVES

Posted on Apr 17, 2013 - 02:26 PM

Lt. Col. Fielding Lewis Greaves, USA-retired, of Virginia and San Rafael, Cal., died Monday, April 15, 2013.

Lt. Col. Greaves was born in Norfolk, Va., on Jan. 27, 1923, where his father was the Field Artillery instructor for the Virginia National Guard. Fielding ("Doc") Greaves always claimed Gloucester County, Virginia, as his real home, the home of his mother, Ellen "Nellie" Deans (Taylor) Greaves, and a county he would revisit often in his lifetime.

During his mother’s long illness, and after her early death at 32, he lived with their aunt, Elizabeth Greaves Page, and her husband Cecil Page on their farm in Gloucester. When their father remarried in 1930, they rejoined him and their new stepmother, Elizabeth Maclean Greaves, in Des Moines, where he was the Army Recruiting Officer.

 As an "Army brat," Doc relished each new family posting, especially those at Forts Davis and Randolph, in the Panama Canal Zone, where he roamed freely, enjoying fishing from a home-made raft or his buddy’s cayuga in Coco Solo Bay, and exploring the jungle adjacent to Fort Randolph. Another great post from his point of view was Fort Hoyle, with its tennis courts, and the Gunpowder River for boating, swimming, fishing, duck hunting, and especially for its 6th FA Regiment’s horses. Those mounts provided Saturday riding classes for post children, and means for his Boy Scout Troop to become the only bareback mounted scout troop in Maryland.

Doc attended three high schools: two years at Bel Air HS, MD; a year at Philadelphia’s Central HS; and senior year at Christchurch School, a small Virginia boarding school. Still too young to take the USMA exams, Doc spent one year at VMI as Brother Rat of ’43, then a year at Braden’s Prep School, N.Y., repairing math deficiencies, and won one of the 33 Presidential USMA appointments for entering the Academy in 1941. With WW II, USMA courses were reduced to three years. Graduating on "D-Day" 1944, later that day at the Cadet Chapel, he married Elisabeth Jean Henshaw of Portland, Or., daughter of Col. and Mrs. Fred Merritt Henshaw.

Doc’s military assignments included combat in France and Germany as forward observer and air observer with 884 FA Battalion (105s), of 70 Inf. Div., left flank unit of Seventh Army in the push eastward. Immediate postwar duty included OMGUS, Berlin, and later 970th CIC Det, Frankfurt, followed by Chinese language training at Yale and the Army Language School in Beijing in 1948-49. He was present during the ChiCom siege and three months of their occupation of Beijing. He subsequently served two tours at Fort Sill, Ok., as S-3 of the 216th FA Bn (280mm atomic cannon), and as Exec  O of the 548th FA Bn (155mm howitzer). He was also a diplomat, serving two tours as assistant military attaché, two years in Hong Kong, and three years in Istanbul. A graduate of the Command & General Staff College at Ft. Leavenworth, he remained there as an instructor, and served two tours as a General Staff member at the Pentagon on the Army’s top G2 staff.

Retiring as a lieutenant colonel in 1965, Doc and Jean moved to Italy "to study archaeology and ancient history where so much of it happened." They lived in Naples for one year (where their first son, Fielding Lewis Greaves II, died in 1965 and is buried in the English Cemetery), and in Rome for four years. They returned to the ZI in 1970, lived two years in Arizona, then moved to the west coast, first to northern San Diego County, finally settling in 1976 in San Rafael, Marin County, a few miles across the Golden Gate from San Francisco.

While in Italy, Doc had fallen accidentally into a film and TV acting career, working in Rome and on locations near Naples, on Capri, and twice in Spain. On returning to the States, he resumed acting on Arizona and joined join three unions, SAG, AFTRA, and the extras union. Moving to California, he continued acting, and served on the local boards of San Diego SAG and San Francisco AFTRA. Doc had supporting roles in a number of feature films, including "Shoes of the Fisherman" (as a cardinal, with Anthony Quinn), "Waterloo" (as Marshal St.-Cyr, with Rod Steiger) and "Patton" (with George C. Scott), and in several TV series and documentaries. 

Doc was also a freelance writer and occasional political columnist, author of numerous articles on military history and leadership, Chinese history, firearms history, constitutional rights, and western art. He had commenced his writing career while on the CGSC faculty at Fort Leavenworth, and continued it in Italy and after returning to the US. In Marin County, he was noted for his local political activity and frequent public appearances before live audiences and on radio and television, speaking and debating on Second Amendment arms rights, taxation and election issues.  He served two terms on the board of directors of the National Rifle Association. As a noted local taxpayer activist in Marin County, Cal., he was a founding director, several times president and long time secretary of Marin United Taxpayers Association during his 32 years with MUTA, and was Marin County’s chief spokesman for California’s famous Proposition 13 to curb property taxes.

Doc is survived by Jean, his wife of 69 years; his sister, Nellie Deans Greaves of Gloucester, Va.; his two sons, James Maclean Greaves of Thompson Falls, Mt., and Jim’s children, Fielding III and Margaret, and by Steven Merritt Greaves of Richmond, Cal., and his son, Dakoda. 

He loved horses, dogs, the Army, and the NRA, and cherished his wife Jean, their family, their country, and its Constitution.

In accordance with his long-standing wishes, there is to be no formal funeral service.  Also his remains are to be cremated and his ashes set free in a pleasant locale, land or sea, according to the choice and wishes of his surviving family.

Active until shortly before his death on behalf of the causes he believed in, he often quoted a remark attributed to Gen. George S. Patton, "Your duty is never done until you die."

He liked also the remark of Marcus Aurelius: "If I have acted well my part in life’s drama, greet my departure with your applause," and another of Gen. Patton’s: "It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who have died.  Rather we should thank God that such men lived."

He left you with a smile in his heart and with love for you all.