Today, a great American Hero has transitioned from this earth. Just shy of his 94th birthday, Dr. Granville Coggs, a Documented Original Tuskegee Airman (DOTA) has now become a Lonely Eagle DOTA. He lived a life full of significance, inspiring so many people to achieve beyond their wildest dreams– despite all obstacles. His legacy will certainly permeate generations to come.
Below is his obituary. As impressive as it is with accomplishment after accomplishment, this still doesn’t capture all the positive things he’s done to help mankind. In other words, he definitely wasn’t just taking up space while here!
Fly high Dr. Coggs!
*** Dr. Granville Coleridge Coggs ***
Dr. Granville C. Coggs, M.D. was born July 30, 1925 to Dr. Tandy Washington Coggs and Nannie Hinkle Coggs in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Dr. Coggs was the youngest of five children and grandson of slaves. He graduated from Dunbar High School in Little Rock in 1942.
From 1943 to 1946, Granville served in the U. S. Army Air Corps where he trained at Tuskegee Army Airfield Class 45G. He earned military badges of aerial gunner, aerial bombardier and multi-engine pilot, distinguishing him as a Documented Original Tuskegee Airman (DOTA). Fortunately, while training, Granville met Maud Currie, a co-ed at Tuskegee Institute, now Tuskegee University. After receiving her Bachelor of Science Degree, the two were married on August 20, 1946 and remained faithful to this union over the past 73 years.
Granville received a Bachelor of Science Degree with distinction from the University of Nebraska in June 1949, after completing his four-year course work in just three years. His scholastic average of 91.65 percent was the highest ever achieved by a “Negro” student at that university and placed him in the upper three percent of his senior class. He was elected to the Phi Beta Kappa Honorary Scholastic Society, Sigma Xi Honorary Science Society, Phi Lambda Upsilon Honorary Chemistry Society and Theta Nu Honorary Pre-Medical Fraternity.
In June 1953, Granville received his M.D. degree from Harvard Medical School. Distinctive accomplishments continued throughout his career in medicine, beginning with an appointment in 1959 as the first African-American Physician on staff at Kaiser Hospital in San Francisco. In 1972, he became the founder and first head of the Ultrasound Radiology Division, University of California, San Francisco. In 1983, Granville established the San Antonio Breast Evaluation Center, which served as the role model for Breast Cancer Disease Diagnostic Centers across the U.S. He also invented a non-invasive device for Breast Cancer Detection. He retired from the U.S. Air Force Medical Reserve in 1985 as a Lieutenant Colonel.
The Coggs family were pioneers as the first African-American family to integrate the Terra Linda Community of Eichler Homes in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 1955, their entrance was met with great resistance; prompting developer Joseph Eichler, in an act of civility and inclusivity, to offer to buy back the homes of those families who opposed integration.
In addition to being a Fellow of the American College of Radiology (FACR), a Charter Member of the Society of Radiologists in Ultrasound and a Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Scientist of the Year award winner, Granville was also an accomplished musician and vocalist. He played the “Gut Bucket” for the Night Blooming Jazzmen, the flute and piccolo in the Las Gallinas Valley Sanitary District Non-Marching Band, sang tenor in the Christ Presbyterian Church Choir, Terra Linda, CA and a vocalist for the San Antonio Mastersingers.
Other accolades include his induction into Arkansas’ Black Hall of Fame in 2001, the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor in March 2007 and Parade Marshall of the San Antonio America’s Armed Forces Parade in 2014. Also, Granville and his daughter, Anita, were invited to attend both inaugurations of President Barack Obama, an honor covered in his book, Soaring Inspiration: The Journey of an Original Tuskegee Airman, which he co-authored with Anita. Furthermore, Granville was a multiple event Gold Medalist in the Senior Olympics at local, regional and State levels.
Dr. Coggs was preceded in death by his father, Dr. Tandy Washington Coggs, mother, Nannie Hinkle Coggs, and son, Granville Currie Coggs. He is survived by his beloved wife, Maud, daughters Anita Rowell (Joseph), Carolyn Coggs and granddaughters Aisha Rowell and Angela Rowell.
We salute this true American Hero as he enters the Lonely Eagle Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. He will truly be missed by his family, friends and his global community–most of whom were blessed for many years by his personal phones calls to them on their birthdays.