GILES, ROBERT BYRON, SR.
GILES, ROBERT BYRON, SR. (1888–1974). Robert Byron Giles, Sr., physician, was born on January 22, 1888, on a farm near Mineola, Texas, to Richard Portlock and Louisa (Read) Giles, whose parents were early settlers in Texas. He attended school in the Belle Font community and received his teacher's certificate from East Texas Normal College. He returned home to teach and became principal of Belle Font School at age twenty-two. During this time, he and his brothers, Ben and Barney, earned a small fee playing baseball. Robert, as pitcher, turned down an offer to play for a Cleveland, Ohio, team to go to medical school at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. He held a variety of jobs to earn his way through school. In his junior year he was elected sergeant-at-arms of his class and served as business manager of the Cactus. He was a member of the Phi Beta Pi Medical Fraternity. After earning his M.D. in 1917, Giles worked for the Anaconda Copper Mine in Globe, Arizona, where he cared for injured workers and delivered babies of workers' wives. That year he was offered a residency at the Columbia Division of the New York Hospital. He traveled by boat to New York City, earning his way as the ship's doctor. After arriving too early to begin his residency, he worked the night shift for the company that was constructing the Holland Tunnel, treating the workers for bends and other injuries.
In September 1918 he married Frederica Kroger of New York City. In 1919 they moved to Dallas and Giles opened his practice. He became known in Dallas and in surrounding cities and towns and was often called in consultation by other doctors or asked to give medical lectures. He pioneered many internal medicine techniques and became a specialist in heart and lung diseases. He served as volunteer doctor for Camp Wisdom, a Boy Scout camp, during the 1930s and instructor at Baylor Medical College in Dallas. He was influential in founding Medical Arts Hospital and served at different times on the staffs of Gaston, St. Paul, Baylor, and the Medical Arts hospitals. He helped establish the local Alcoholics Anonymous and continued working with it for many years. He also was a consultant to the Louisiana and Arkansas and the Missouri, Kansas, and Texas railroads, the General American Oil Company, and Continental Emsco. Giles was medical director for Universal Life and Accident Company. His memberships included the American, Texas, and Dallas County medical societies, the Southern Clinical Society, the American College of Chest Physicians, and the American and Texas Association of Life Insurance Medical Directors. Giles died in Dallas on October 13, 1974, leaving his wife and four children, one of whom, Dr. Robert B. Giles, Jr., was in practice with him. Giles belonged to the Christian Church when he was young, but later became a Presbyterian. He is buried in the Hillcrest Mausoleum, Dallas.
Dallas Times Herald, May 21, 1970. Dallas Medical Journal, November 1974, June 1993. Texas Medicine, April 1975.
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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Anne Giles Kimbrough, "GILES, ROBERT BYRON, SR.," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fgitv), accessed February 12, 2016. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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