Dr Calvin Hylton Shirley

Dr Calvin Hylton Shirley

Tallahassee, Leon County, Florida, USA
Death 23 Jun 2012 (aged 91)
Fort Lauderdale, Broward County, Florida, USA
Burial Fort Lauderdale, Broward County, Florida, USA
Memorial ID 97046706 · View Source
Suggest Edits

For nearly half a century, he treated patients in a poor black neighborhood, dispensing medicine in return for bartered vegetables, birthing thousands of babies, and battling the disease of racism.

"I could have gone on the other side of town," he once said. "But I'm a poor doctor, and I'm not ashamed of it."

Calvin Hylton Shirley, 91, one of the first black doctors in Broward County, died of natural causes Saturday at Broward Health Medical Center, where he was the first black staff physician in the 1950s.

Broward's first black ob-gyn, he estimated he helped deliver more than 6,000 babies, operating out of a humble office off Sistrunk Boulevard. In 1996, Fort Lauderdale named the street that runs by his office Dr. Calvin H. Shirley Road.

"If no one's here to take care of people in this part of town, the germs will spread," he said. "So somebody ought to be close by."

Dr. Shirley grew up in Pensacola and graduated from Florida A&M University. After serving as a Navy corpsman in the Pacific during World War II, he earned his medical degree from Boston College of Physicians and Surgeons.

In 1947, Dr. Shirley and his wife, Jeannette, a nurse, moved to Fort Lauderdale and he joined the staff of Provident Hospital, a blacks-only facility. Two years later he opened his own office.

Along with the three other black doctors in town, Dr. Shirley sued to be permitted on staff at Broward General Hospital, now called Broward Health Medical Center. When blacks were excluded from the beach in the '60s, he led "wade-ins" to integrate the shoreline.

Dr. Shirley kept serving patients well into his 70s, retiring in 1998.

Dr. Shirley is survived by daughters Jasmin, an administrator with Broward Health, and Carmen, of Plantation, a physician; sons Calvin Jr., of Melbourne, John Walbridge, of Fort Lauderdale and Cedric Hylton, of Plantation; and five grandchildren. His wife died in 1989.

The family is attempting to reserve Dillard High School for a memorial service from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday. The funeral will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Mark's Episcopal Church, 1750 E. Oakland Park Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, followed by internment at Sunset Memorial Gardens, 3201 NW 19th St., Fort Lauderdale. A repast follows at St. Christopher Episcopal Church, 318 NW Sixth Ave., Fort Lauderdale.

Family Members

Sponsored by Ancestry



  • Created by: Mary Lesesne
  • Added: 13 Sep 2012
  • Find A Grave Memorial 97046706
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Dr Calvin Hylton Shirley (28 Jan 1921–23 Jun 2012), Find A Grave Memorial no. 97046706, citing Sunset Memorial Gardens, Fort Lauderdale, Broward County, Florida, USA ; Maintained by Mary Lesesne (contributor 47874668) .