Submitted by Erin Moffet
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Recently (June 26, 2012) Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-Miramar) made the following statement honoring the life of Dr. Calvin Hylton Shirley: “I am truly honored to recognize the life and legacy of an outstanding human being. Dr. Calvin Hylton (Kappa) Shirley passed away on June 23, 2012 at the age of 91. He was my doctor and great friend.”
“Dr. Shirley was born on January 28, 1921, grew up in Pensacola, Florida and graduated from Florida A&M University. He served as a Navy corpsman in the Pacific during World War II, and went on to earn his degree from Boston College of Physicians and Surgeons.
“Dr. Shirley was an accomplished physician who specialized in the fields of obstetrics and family practice. He was among the first Black doctors to work in Broward County, starting the historic Provident Hospital in Fort Lauderdale, which was the first medical facility in the city for Blacks. Dr. Shirley served there for 54 years and delivered over 6,000 babies.
In 1949, he established his own practice, and allowed those who could not pay for his services to offer him crops as payment. Dr. Shirley was a man who lived by his principles, stating that, ‘A good doctor is one who is concerned with giving service, as opposed to one who’s only concerned with the almighty dollar.’
“In addition to his outstanding service to the community, Dr. Shirley paved the way for African Americans in the medical community. He was one of the first four Black physicians in Broward County to have his own medical practice. He was also the first medical advisor to the Sickle Cell Foundation.
Furthermore, Dr. Shirley was the first and only Black physician to receive the coveted Heideman Memorial Doctor of the Year award, and serve on the Executive Board of the Florida State Health Planning Council as well as serve on the staff of Broward General Hospital. He was also the first Black obstetrician-gynecologist in Broward County and the first Black staff physician at Broward Health Medical Center.
“On top of his professional career, Dr. Shirley was affiliated with many organizations rooted in the South Florida community. He was one of the founding members and first Polemarch of the Fort Lauderdale Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., an organization of which I am a proud member.
Additionally, Dr. Shirley was a 32nd Degree Mason, a Shriner of Kazah Temple 149, and a member of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity of Alpha Rho Boule.
“My chief of staff Art Kennedy, also a Kappa with Dr. Shirley and myself, remembers him fondly, ‘Brother Shirley was always a gentleman, very cool and calm, and he loved Kappa.’
“I would like to take this opportunity to offer my sincere condolences to all those who have been impacted by the loss of such a great man. My thoughts and prayers are with Dr. Shirley’s family and friends during this most difficult time. He was a tremendous individual who selflessly dedicated his life to helping all those around him, and he will be dearly missed.”
Congressman Alcee L. Hastings serves as Senior Member of the House Rules Committee, Ranking Democratic Member of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, and Democratic Chairman of the Florida Delegation.