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Doc Davis file

H. Robert “Doc” Davis

South Middleton School Board is in the very early stages of discussing the possible development of a permanent memorial to Dr. H. Robert Davis Jr.

“We have started discussions on how the district may properly recognize and honor Doc’s dedication and service to this district,” Board President Randy Varner said last week.

A former resident of Boiling Springs and Mechanicsburg, Davis died on Dec. 19 at the Thornwald Home in Carlisle. He was 97.

A Harrisburg native, Davis served in the Army Air Corps during World War II and later graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and its medical school. He interned at the former Polyclinic Hospital in Harrisburg before establishing a family practice in Boiling Springs.

A long-time supporter of the South Middleton School District, Davis served several terms on the school board and as the school and team physician for many years. He and his wife Lyla established the Bubbler Foundation to support the school district and community.

“The nine of us who serve on this board realize when it comes to Doc Davis we stand on the shoulders of a giant,” said Varner who first met Davis at St. John Lutheran Church in Boiling Springs.

Randy and Jennifer Varner had just moved into the community and were attending St. John for the first time. Davis was the first person to welcome the couple into the congregation.

“Only later would I learn who he was and what he meant to the community,” Varner said during a board meeting Jan. 9. “He told us he made his life here and would not want to do it any other place.

“As a community and school district, we are so blessed he did live among us,” Varner said. “In doing so, he made our community, school and lives better.”

So far, board members have only discussed the possibility of a permanent memorial. No decisions have been made on what form the memorial could take and where it could be located. The board is content to takes its time on a district salute to Davis.

“This is something we want to do right,” Varner said.

After World War II, Davis remained active in the Army Reserve, having last commanded the 316th Station Hospital in Harrisburg. He retired as a colonel after 34 years of service that included two tours of duty as a physician in Vietnam.

Davis played a key role in the construction of the clock tower at Children’s Lake. He also was instrumental in getting Boiling Springs its current post office and in buying the Boiling Springs Tavern when a past owner was in financial trouble. Davis had the building remodeled before selling it to a new owner who kept the business going.

A past commander of Boiling Springs VFW Post #8851, Davis was the force behind initiating the Boiling Springs Memorial Day and Veterans Day observances as well as the veterans’ breakfasts at Boiling Springs High School.

Many who grew up in Boiling Springs remember Davis as their family doctor who ran a practice on Fourth Street for many years.

Email Joseph Cress at


News Reporter

History and education reporter for The Sentinel.

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