A Well -Rounded Character
Ernest Harold Greaves and his wife Gladys Noeni Lyon-Hall gave the world quite a gift on January 24, 1935, in Kingston. That gift was in the form of John Owen Harold Greaves.
Affectionately called “John-John” by his friends at Munro, he was an avid sportsman, representing his house, Pearman, in all sports as well as representing Munro in lawn tennis. He was quite a character and contributed his fair share of mischief to school life. Above all, he was a “boy of action” destined to be “a man of action” as we shall see. He left Munro in 1954 for Priory High School to pursue Senior Cambridge exams.
Post Munro Education
John’s first job was with Reynold’s Alumina Jamaica Ltd. He quickly became general foreman in their meat processing plant at Lydford in St. Ann. On the advice and recommendation of his boss, William Stock Cole, he applied and was accepted to the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA, where he completed the Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering.
On his return to Jamaica, Greaves went to work for Bicknell and Silvera from 1960 to 1962 and for Caribbean Metal Products (CMP) from 1962 to 1963 as a junior engineer before striking out on his own. He started Pre-Engineered Buildings in 1964. In 1970 that company was dissolved and he started Tank-Weld Ltd, where he retains a directorship until today. In November 2010, the award for Engineering Project of the year was presented to Tank-Weld Metals Ltd. for the Port of Rio Bueno. In 1986, Tank-Weld won the Gleaner Honour Award for the Yallahs Pipeline project and won the award again in 2008 for the Rio Bueno Port project. In his own words, “John-John” still enjoys work at Tank-Weld every day “at the tender young age of 82”.
A Philanthropic Family
He married Jennifer Randall in 1980 and together they have five children and seven grandchildren.
In 1987 the philanthropic couple founded an Adopt-A-Ward fund and since then, have raised over US$1million. Through much hard work and impeccable organization, they hosted exquisite fund-raising parties along with the generosity of individuals and companies who assisted by donating goods and services to aid the cause. Their commitment to philanthropy has resulted in many hospitals across the island being provided with well-needed life-saving equipment.
Their philanthropy is now the stuff of legend. The North East Regional Health Authority awarded them with an Appreciation Award in February 2013 and a Leader in Philanthropy recognition in April 2013 for donating an operating table and many items of equipment. A ward in the Annatto Bay Hospital was also named after him and his wife. The St. Ann Parish Council in 2011 presented him with an award for erecting a market building along with a building for the Coast Guard. In April 2011, Hillel Academy made him an Honorary Board Member for his consistent support, and they named their football field after him. He was named First Caribbean Unsung Hero in 2005 and he won the Gleaner Company Merit Award in 1994. In July 1971 he was presented with a Certificate of Merit by the 3rd Pan American Wheelchair Games.
On May 6, 2000, John Greaves took a cow to Munro College, slaughtered it, roasted it on a spit and sold roast beef to all and sundry and presented the proceeds to the Richard B. Roper Auditorium fund. That was the day that the auditorium was declared open by Sir Alistair McIntyre.
Environmentally conscious, “John John” has created a public park near Pear Tree Bay in St. Ann, planted 200 coconut trees at Pigeon Island off the south coast, and is now planting ackee and acacia trees along the Queens Highway in St. Ann.
Three mottos selected from his many guiding proverbs are first, “measure twice and cut once; second, “Hog wash inna first water,” and third, “God doesn’t wear pajamas.”
He was named a Professional Engineer by the Jamaica Institute of Engineers, he is a Paul Harris Fellow of the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International, and in October 2012, the Government of Jamaica conferred on John Greaves the Order of Distinction in the rank of Commander for Engineering and Philanthropy.
For the aforementioned reasons and others, Mr. John Owen Harold Greaves has been proudly inducted into the Munro College Old Boys Association Hall of Fame.