Army general never forgot his roots
Lt. Gen. Henry Doctor Jr. once said that his philosophy on life was based on three principles: faith, commitment and education.
This native son of the tiny Oakley community near Moncks Corner stood firm on those principles as he scaled the heights of the U.S. Army.
Undaunted by the tense racial climate of the 1960s, Doctor steadily climbed ranks to become the Army's inspector general. He reported to the secretary of the Army and other senior military officials, giving evaluations in troop readiness and morale. He also had a hand in investigating expenditures and corruption within the Army's entire staff.
But despite his impressive resume, Doctor never forgot where he came from.
He would look back and laugh at the fact that he was delivered by a midwife in Oakley. "We didn't have hospitals around Oakley back then," Doctor told a Post and Courier reporter in 1989, laughing.
Even then, the reporter noticed that every time he smiled, his eyes crinkled at the corners, creasing into well-worn laugh lines.
That's how family members remembered him Saturday. They said he had a genuine spirit and love for people.
Doctor died Dec. 7 of kidney failure at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington. He was 74. He will be
Doctor died of kidney failure Dec. 7 at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington. He was 74. He will be buried Monday at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., with full honors.
His daughter, Lori Williams, said many current and former military dignitaries were present at her father's funeral Friday, including former U.S. Secretary of State and retired Army Gen. Colin Powell. Williams said Powell called her father a mentor who was passionate about helping others.
Williams said she has heard countless stories since he died about how he aided in the success of so many in the military and in the community.
She said she will remember her father as an attentive man who loved God. "The love he gave to me is same love he gave to so many other people," Williams said.
While Doctor spent the better part of his career in Washington and lived in Centreville, Va., he still made frequent trips home and was instrumental in developing the plans for Military Magnet Academy in North Charleston, where he was member of the Military Advisory Panel.
Doctor's involvement was fitting for a man who received his early education in the Lowcountry.
In 1950, he graduated from Berkeley Training High School — a black school that closed in the early 1970s — and went on to graduate from South Carolina State College. The three-star general was the highest-ranking S.C. State alumnus, according to the school's Web site.
Doctor later would finish the Reserve Officer Training Corps program and was commissioned as a second lieutenant. He held a master's degree in counseling and psychological services from Georgia State University.
Doctor received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from S.C. State University and an honorary Doctor of Military Science degree from The Citadel. He was a member of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity.
Elijah McCants, of St. Stephen, a cousin by marriage, attributed Doctor's success to his intelligence and commitment to work diligently to reach his goals.
McCants also said his cousin had a heart for people.
"When you spoke to him, he listened intently with a special smile," he said.
Doctor is survived by his wife, Janie M. Doctor; three daughters, Constanza Smith, Lori Williams, and Cheryl Mack; five grandchildren; a great-grandchild; two brothers; and a sister. Doctor was predeceased by a son, Kenneth Doctor.