Good-bye ‘Big Arch’

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 3, 2006

To the Editor:

The world lost one of its better citizens when Dr. Archie Davis passed away on June 15, 2006, after a short but courageous battle with pancreatic cancer.

I first met Archie in the early 1970s when I was a junior medical student and Archie was a medical resident at UAB. I remember Archie was a good teacher and he always had a good joke – most of which you wouldn’t tell in mixed company. That’s when we gave him the nickname, “Dirty Archie.”

Our next meeting would be in 1978 when I finished my residency in Tuscaloosa and moved to Selma to practice with Selma Medical Associates. Archie was practicing with Selma Internal Medicine, Drs. DeBardeleben and Hinson.

Our friendship rekindled and we started hunting together every chance we got.

In 1986, Archie decided to go back to school and specialize in cardiology, so he moved to Mobile and became a cardiologist. He stayed in Mobile and joined a practice there.

Our hunts became less frequent but we usually got one or two in a year and stayed in touch by phone. Archie always had a fondness for Selma and its people even after he moved, and tried to keep up with them through me and his other Selma friends.

Our last hunt would take place in late January 2006, when Joe Moore invited him up for a weekend of deer hunting. As fate would have it, Archie was the only one to take a deer that day, a nice eight-point.

I think God planned it that way. Joe and I could tell what he had done as we drove up by the smile on his face from ear to ear.

Nothing pleased Archie more than taking a nice deer.

We talked a lot that day driving to the hunt.

We talked about medicine and patients, and Archie told me that even though he was a cardiologist, he would still check a man’s prostate if he were having symptoms just to make sure he didn’t have cancer.

Not many sub specialists would do that. They would refer them to another sub specialist or back to their primary care physician.

But you see, Archie was a doctor first and a cardiologist second.

He never quit being a doctor who not only cared for his patients, but who cared about his patients as well.

I would like to believe as the American Indians did that when you leave this world you go to the “Happy Hunting

Ground.”

If that be the case, I know Archie is scouting out the best spots where the big deer live.

I will look forward to our next hunt, Arch, on the other side.

Nick Knight, M.D.