Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Ralph Greene Jr. Saw Behind the Eyes, Too

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Ralph Greene Jr. Saw Behind the Eyes, Too

Article excerpt

Don Calfee said Ralph Greene Jr. could tell everything about

you by looking into your eyes.

I believed him.

Calfee was city editor of The Florida Times-Union.

City editors always knew about such things.

They never lied to young reporters whom they sent for eye

exams.

That is one way I always thought of Dr. Greene.

I imagined him privy to the secrets behind Jacksonville's eyes.

I saw him looking intently into a person's eyes and discerning

broad vistas of experience and emotion spread out behind the

nooks and crannies of irises and corneas or whatever and visible

only to Greene.

I suspected he decoded myriad signals of health and well-being,

of illness and want, all through a benign examination of the

eyes, and addressed himself to that which was appropriate.

I concluded his modest office over on LaSalle Street was more

than a consulting room; it was the very doorway to a vast and

arcane vista unlocked only by the skill and talent of the utter

professional.

He noticed right off I could make a big deal out of a pressure

check.

Ralph Greene, who passed away Dec. 31 at the age of 83, was an

ophthalmologist by profession and a Jacksonvillian by essence.

He was warp and woof of this city, native to its tradition as

surely as Spanish moss and six-sided sidewalk stones.

For 30 years he looked into the collective eye of Jacksonville.

I doubt he ever regarded a stranger. He was part of it all.

When Ralph Greene was 15 years old, Laurie Yonge, the father of

flight in Jacksonville, spent 25 consecutive hours and five

minutes flying over Jacksonville's Beaches in a very small plane

called the Hotsy Totsy, staying up in the air in a small plane

longer than anyone in the history of the world and astonishing a

nation not all that used to flight. Ralph Greene Sr. officially

noted the record when he came down.

Greene was the official timekeeper for the National

Aeronautical Association and himself a pioneer in flight. …

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