<In fact, Greg White was better known as a homebirth Doctor. He was the first in Illinois in the modern era. Four of my children were attended at birth by this great man.  Greg Cryns>

Prominent breast-feeding advocate

By Patricia Trebe
Special to the Tribune
Published June 18, 2003

When Gregory J. White was a young doctor in Franklin Park in the 1950s, he noticed a sense of frustration among his patients who wanted to breast-feed their children, but had no resources or support. He suggested to his wife and her friends that they form a group to offer that support during a time when breast-feeding was often discouraged.

From that point in 1956, seven women formed La Leche League, .

"His impact on society has been phenomenal," said Marcia Lutostanski, acting executive director of La Leche International. "He improved the physical and emotional health of millions of babies and their mothers through the breast-feeding relationship."

Dr. White, 82, died Monday, June 16, in his River Forest home from complications of leukemia.

Born in Chicago, Dr. White graduated from Fenwick High School in Oak Park and attended Loyola University and medical school, said his daughter Anne White.

He married in 1944, and he and his wife, Mary, moved around to Army bases where Dr. White served in World War II. He returned to Oak Park and did a residency at Loretto Hospital, where he later became president of the medical staff. After going into general practice in Franklin Park, his office soon became known as the place for young mothers to go who wanted to experience natural childbirth, his daughter said.

When his wife, the mother of his 11 children, and her friends experienced problems breast-feeding, they turned to Dr. White, who gave them the idea of forming the league.

Dr. White also named the organization and supported it at conventions and conferences.

He practiced for 50 years and, before it was popular, allowed fathers in the delivery room, his daughter said.

"Throughout his career he was unique and recognized there was a pretty big void out there for women. He was very active in promoting causes such as natural childbirth and family issues," his daughter said.

Dr. White was also a founding member of the American College of Home Obstetrics and the Catholic Physicians Guild and served as president of both. He was also past president of the West Suburban Serra Club, an organization that encourages men to join the priesthood, and was active in the anti-abortion movement.

Others survivors include his wife, three sons, Joseph, William and Michael, who are all physicians; six other daughters, Mary Catherine Thornton, Mary Regina Stirton, Mary Dooley, Clare Daly, Maureen Smillie and Elizabeth Dillon; 54 grandchildren; and 17 great-grandchildren.

Visitation will be from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday in Drechsler, Brown and Williams Funeral Home, 203 S. Marion St., Oak Park. Funeral services will be at 9:15 a.m. Friday in the funeral home, followed by a 10 a.m. mass in St. Luke Catholic Church, 528 Lathrop Ave., River Forest.

Copyright � 2003, Chicago Tribune



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