No Party Like A “Champagne Bain” Party | Dr. Granville Charles Bain (1940-1997)
Remembering one of The Bahamas’ most distinguished physicians with the help of his daughters Stacee Crittenden and Shauna Bain Smith, on his birthday.
“This was a common man, raised to heights of uncommon recognition and applause through his singular quality of caring beyond his doorstep, and never, never fearing to stand and say to all the world that he was different, saying it with a purpose and if necessary, with a vengeance.”
— P. Anthony White, Eulogy to Granville C. Bain in Princess Margaret Hospital: The Story of a Bahamian Institution
The Bahamas’ the first specialty surgeon, and first orthopaedic expert, a pioneer in arthroscopic surgery, and a man who deeply cared for his fellow Bahamians, Dr. Granville Charles Bain was born on June 27, 1940 in Nassau.
This is his story.
Having been reared in a home where there was an emphasis on education, young Granville Bain attended Western Junior School, and Western Senior School, before completing his secondary education at St. John’s College.
By the time he arrived at Lincoln University, Pennsylvania, a black college, he had already demonstrated giftedness in both science and literature. There, Bain excelled inside and outside the classroom. Ever-popular and charismatic, he was initiated into the Beta Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity where he served in various leadership roles including as Basileus, Vice-Basileus, and chaplain.
Following the completion of a bachelor’s degree in biology in 1961, he was awarded a full-scholarship to Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee — today, the college is one of the United States’ oldest and most distinguished historically black institutions, and remains a leader in the education and training of blacks in medicine, dentistry, and health science careers.
He studied medicine at Meharry, graduating with a specialization in orthopaedic surgery in 1965, before interning at Harlem Hospital, New York, where he specialized in Orthopedics Surgery and Surgery of the Hands.
Upon completion, Dr. Bain returned to The Bahamas in 1970 where he worked at the Princess Margaret Hospital. Having almost single-handedly introduced the specialty of Orthoroscopic Surgery to The Bahamas, Bain proudly served as a pioneer in his field, devoting his life and work to improving health care in The Bahamas.
During his legendary career, Dr. Bain notably introduced the use of computers and new technology to Bahamian medical practices, as well as a program that allowed the hospital to provide free surgery to children who were unable to afford the service privately.
His beachfront home “GranVilla” at Hibiscus Estates, West Bay Street, was a gathering place for his beloved Omega brothers as well as for young intelligentsia and those interested in politics, the latter of which sadly contributed to his move to Miami, Florida in 1981.
During this stint in the United States, Bain updated his surgical techniques, but returned to his native Nassau, Bahamas in 1985.
Perhaps most enduringly, Bain was a believer in the potentiality of younger Bahamian professionals and aspirants to careers in medicine as well as other disciplines. A mentor to many young doctors, he trained both doctors and nurses. Ever-generous, he shared office space with new doctors; he gave his time and money to assist medical students; he offered invaluable advice to those he encountered along the way.
“Average is not good enough,” said Bain.
“Pursue your aspirations wholly and completely, wherever they lie.” He continued, “You can be as great as you envision yourself to be. Service to your fellow man is paramount.”
He continued his mentorship of others as well as his private practice until his death on December 29, 1997 at age 57, after a brief incapacitating illness.
Five years later, on April 15, 2002, the Princess Margaret Hospital’s orthopaedic ward was renamed the Granville Charles Bain Orthopaedic Ward in commemoration of life and work.
An active member in the Medical Association of The Bahamas, and a former president of The Bahamas Doctors’ Union, Bain was a founder of the Nassau-based Pi Xi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.
Champagne Bain Rule: “Celebrate now, there’ll be enough time for worries later.”
Two years ago, on what would have been Bain’s 75th birthday, his daughter Stacee Crittenden wrote this tribute:
The preparations would have begun. The venue would of course be, Paula’s GranVilla on Hibiscus Beach. He would have ordered 12 cases of Taittinger to accompany the fully stocked bar. There would be one band on the patio and a DJ by the pool. The chef would have prepared conch fritters, conch salad, lamb, peas and rice, and mac and cheese, and guava duff. The chef by the grill would be grilling lobsters and steak.
Bain would have ordered a Turnbull & Asser shirt with a pocket square and bow tie — and they would have had purple in them to represent his love for Omega Psi Phi and “Bloody” Beta chapter. A duo would be hand rolling Cuban cigars by the beach, and a breeze would be blowing with the smell of the ocean everywhere.
At about 8 p.m. the guests would arrive and the band would be playing reggae, soul and a little jazz. The DJ would be playing some new songs, but a lot of Biggie, Tupac, and Snoop.
At about 10:30 p.m. the place would be packed and a Junkanoo band full of Saxons would perform — and dad would have rushed with them, and made everyone join in. By midnight, the crowd would be dancing, sweating, laughing, and the champagne flowing.
At approximately, 3 a.m. another chef would show up to get the boiled fish and Johnny cake ready for breakfast. Maybe by 4 a.m. the first guest would depart, but most of the crowd would depart as the sun rose.
Daddy, the party would be epic, just like the legendary parties you had for so many years. I know you are not here, but I know there is a celebration in heaven and today I celebrate you.