George Gevas, M.D., delivered more than 10,000 babies over the span of his 40-year career as an obstetrician-gynecologist in Parkersburg, West Virginia. He was known for his bedside manner and meticulous surgical skills.
From an early age, he instilled patience and perseverance in his granddaughter, Mary E. Smyrnioudis, M.D., who would go on to follow in his footsteps. Smyrnioudis has memorialized the love and devotion to medicine her grandfather showed throughout his career with a new scholarship for students at the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine.
A first-generation Greek American, Gevas knew from an early age that he wanted to be a physician. He was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1942 during World War II, requesting to serve as a medic in the medical corps and ultimately providing care to the wounded on D-Day. During the war, he also assisted in delivering babies, influencing his future career as an ob-gyn.
Gevas went on to earn both his bachelor’s and medical degrees from the University of Maryland. He then completed his ob-gyn residency at Bon Secours Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, before relocating to Parkersburg with his wife Mary in 1957. He practiced in Parkersburg for 40 years before retiring in 1997. His attention then turned full-time to his gardening and his grandchildren. In 2018, Gevas passed away at the age of 93.
“From a young age as I helped my grandfather in his garden, he would say to me, ‘You’re going to become a doctor when you grow up!’ and that became my dream,” Smyrnioudis said, who graduated from the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine in 2009 and now practices emergency medicine at McLeod Regional Medical Center in Florence, South Carolina. “I didn’t realize until much later how much he taught me about patience and perseverance. He taught me the beauty of hard work and the importance of working toward a goal.”
The Dr. George Gevas Memorial Scholarship is designated for an entering first-year medical student with first preference given to students from Wood County, West Virginia. The first recipient of the scholarship is Sophia Shank, a Davisville, West Virginia, native with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from West Virginia University in Morgantown. While at WVU, Shank logged more than 776 hours in the Parent-Child Interaction Therapy Lab, is trained in the Dyadic Parent-Child Interaction Coding System and worked with the State Opioid Response Grant.
“Marshall University provided me the opportunity to become the physician my grandfather dreamed I would be,” Smyrnioudis said. “I am now in the position to give back and support an aspiring physician with the same dream to serve our community as my grandfather did.”