Beloved husband, father, grandfather, surgeon, and friend, John Henry Giles, age 76, joined the Lord in Heaven on June 13, 2009.Born February 22, 1933 in Calvin, NC, John was the son of the late Ellen Trexler Giles and Robert Hampton Giles, Sr. After graduating from Glen Alpine High School in 1951, John’s love of learning led him to earn an Associates of Arts Degree from Pfeiffer College in Meisenheimer, NC in 1951, a Bachelor of Science from Randolph Macon in Ashland, VA in 1953 where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa, and a Doctor of Medicine from Bowman Gray School of Medicine in Winston-Salem in 1959.On completion of his medical studies, John entered the United States Navy with internship at the US Naval Hospital in St. Albans, NY. This was followed by duty at sea on the USS Iwo Jima LPH2 which he commissioned and was the senior medical officer aboard. John then completed surgical training at the US Naval Hospital, San Diego, the largest military hospital in the world.After a year as a staff surgeon at US Naval Hospital Charleston, John believed that being a naval surgeon in Vietnam was his proper place and he asked for and was given duty in Da Nang, Vietnam. He served as staff surgeon in Da Nang from 1966-1967, where he cared for thousands of wounded service men and women.On returning to the US in 1967, John completed his duty at the US Naval Hospital in Philadelphia, PA where he continued to care for wounded servicemen. After attaining the rank of Commander Medical Corp, US Navy, John ended his service with the Navy in 1969.Throughout the rest of his life John continued to have deep love, respect, admiration, and gratitude for the US military. In recent years John was instrumental in bringing a World War II memorial to downtown Morganton and as recently as two weeks ago he was honored to give the Memorial Day message at the Valdese American Legion. Throughout his life John was a strong advocate of individual freedom and responsibility with service to fellow man.John returned to his hometown in 1969 where he spent the next 45 years devoting himself to caring for the people of Burke County. He was a compassionate physician who always put the needs and welfare of his patients first. The practice of medicine defined much of his life, and he was honored that people trusted him with their care.John was a natural leader and served in numerous leadership positions including the Burke County Medical Society, the North Carolina Medical Society, and the Boards of Directors of Blue Ridge Health Care, Mimosa Hills Country Club, and the National Charolais Association.John was a man of many passions. For many years he loved breeding and showing Charolais cattle and spending time on his sailboat. Most recently he and Ann spent most of their spare time on the golf course or turning their garden into a paradise.John was an active member of Drexel First Baptist Church, where he served as a deacon and was currently teaching the parables of Jesus in his Sunday School class.John is survived by his devoted wife of 31 years, Ann Queen Giles, and his children and their spouses, Mary Ellen Clark and her husband, Ron, of Rutherfordton, NC; Stephen Bierce Giles and his wife, Kathryn, of High Point, NC; John Keith Giles and his wife, Joyce, of Denver, NC; and Kelly Giles Crawley and her husband, Mark, of Morganton.John was a proud and loving grandfather of ten: Christie and J.T. Clark, Caroline and Lauren Giles, Ashley, Brannon, and Trevor Giles, and Morgan, Anna, and Giles Crawley. He is also survived by his first great-grandson, Reed Clark.In addition to his parents, John was preceded in death by his dear brothers, Sonny, Bobby, Bill, and Jim.John spent countless hours in the last year of his life working with the Flynn Christian Home, a half-way house committed to giving men a second chance in life. In lieu of flowers, John would want donations made to the Flynn Christian Fellowship Home, 721 West Union Street, Morganton, NC 28655.Services for John Henry Giles will be held on Tuesday, June 16, 2009 at Drexel First Baptist Church. The family will receive friends in the fellowship hall from 2:00 until 4:00 p.m., with a memorial service immediately following in the church sanctuary. A private burial will be held at Glen Alpine Methodist Church Cemetery. Sossoman Funeral Home is assisting the family with the arrangements.
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