Just as we were going to press with this edition of the DBJ, a longtime Delta and state leader passed, Dr. Stacy Davidson from Cleveland. Dr. Davidson served on the board of the Institutions of Higher Learning for 12 years. He was also a great supporter of Delta State University and he served on just about every board anyone could serve on at Ole Miss.
Upon learning of Dr. Davidson’s passing, former Governor Ronnie Musgrove, who appointed Dr. Davidson to the IHL Board, commented in our sister publication, The Cleveland Current, “Dr. Davidson was such a great figure on the College Board. He recognized education as an opportunity and worked tirelessly to make that a reality for all of our citizens. I was privileged to have known him personally and professional. My life is much better because of his and his family’s influence.”
Dr. Davidson was born in Pope on December 19, 1932 and graduated as the Valedictorian of his Pope High School class. He then went on to attend Ole Miss graduating with honors. Dr. Davidson decided to pursue a career in medicine and entered the University of Mississippi Medical School where he met his wife Fay Spruill of Belzoni. They were married for 58 years. He completed his medicine internship at Baylor School of Medicine in Houston, Texas and then served as a captain in the U.S. Army Medical Corps before moving to the Delta and serving as a general practitioner for five years in Cleveland. Dr. Davidson then decided to further his medical education and completed a residency training in ophthalmology at Tulane University in New Orleans. After that he returned to Cleveland and practiced medicine for a total of 52 years. He was inducted into the Ole Miss Alumni Hall of Fame, and he was a member of the UMMC Guardian Society and the Ole Miss Chancellor’s Trust. He was also a Diplomate of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the list goes on of the honors Dr. Davidson received during his life.
Like so many in my town of Cleveland, I don’t remember not knowing Dr. Davidson because from the time I was a child, he was our family eye doctor. However, I became personal friends with him when his sons Stacy and Friley were my KA fraternity brothers at Ole Miss.
In January 2011, I was walking out of the Baptist Church in Shelby when someone grabbed my arm and pulled me out of my father’s funeral procession.
“I know the pain is great, but this too will pass and when it does, make sure you hold on to the good memories you have of your father and forget the bad ones, they don’t matter anymore,” Dr. Davidson whispered in my ear. I loved my father, but our relationship was often challenged and because Dr. Davidson was a close family friend, he was aware of this.
In recent years, the Delta has lost some great leaders … people who worked their entire lives using all of their talents and money to help the Mississippi Delta be a better place for all of its people. Dr. Davidson was one of these leaders.
The Davidson family will always have a special place in my heart and I know they will in the hearts of others in the Delta and around Mississippi