Obituary: Dr. Alfred Davis Jr.
Dr. Alfred Davis Jr. died on Dec. 2, 2021, in Montclair, four days before his 40th anniversary in chiropractic practice on the rarest of dates (12/02/2021), which reads the same beginning from either end, befitting the notion that there will never be another quite like him. He was 65.
Dr. Davis was born in 1956, the oldest of three sons of Alfred and Sylestine Booker Davis at Community Memorial Hospital in South Hill, Virginia.
Soon after, his parents moved from Virginia to Newark, where his Dad’s extended family lived, for higher-paying work. In pursuit of owning a home, his parents later moved their young family to Roselle, where Dr. Davis attended Lincoln School (now Dr. Charles A. Polk School). His parents later enrolled him in St. Mary's Elementary School in Newark to be closer to his mother’s work as a schoolteacher.
He would go on to attend St. Benedict’s Prep until its temporary closure in 1972, St. Peter’s Prep and, later, until his graduation in 1974, Roselle Catholic HIgh School. He was promoted to junior manager of a fast-food restaurant while in high school and, subsequently, declared that he would forgo college. His mother wasted no time putting him back on track.
He matriculated at Seton Hall University and embarked on a major in math. There, he melded his love of music and culture to pioneer the first Black-oriented radio programming, “Focus on Black Pride,” at Seton Hall’s WSOU-FM.
Not just academically and culturally inclined, Dr. Davis prided himself in striving for physical and mental development via the practice of Chinese kung-fu, Wu-Su, a system based on all aspects of traditional Chinese martial arts, whose approach was to teach openly to all, regardless of race. He also loved to play bass guitar to an extensive vinyl record collection.
A car accident caused him to suffer back pain and to get referred to a chiropractor for relief. He was so intrigued by the doctor’s ability not only to relieve pain symptoms but to cure the cause of the pain without drugs or surgery that the experience created a sea change in his outlook. He subsequently transferred from Seton Hall into the pre-chiropractic program at Bloomfield College and, afterward, to the doctoral program at New York Chiropractic College.
Dr. Davis went on to attain the profession’s highest achievement, receiving the Diplomate, American Chiropractic Board of Sports Physicians and the Diplomate, Chiropractic Board of Pain Management.
After graduation, he founded his chiropractic practice on Dec. 6, 1981, in Montclair’s South End business district and dedicated himself to helping people in the community, many of whom had not been exposed to natural healing.
As his practice grew, he expanded his engagement in the community. He co-founded, with Audrey Fletcher, the Montclair African American Heritage Foundation’s parade and festival to herald the contributions of African Americans. He annually hosted the MLK Jr. scholarship breakfast to raise funds for Montclair’s aspiring collegians as its committee board member.
Dr. Davis was a financial contributor and exhibitor of the benefits of chiropractic and natural healing to the ACT-SO (Afro-Academic, Cultural Technological-Scientific Olympics), which features adults in the community helping youths get to their future. His aim there as well as at countless community gatherings and career days was to promote how health and wellness were essential underpinnings to any aspirations and ambitious pursuits in life, for both youthful strivers and their supportive adult counterparts.
He loved God and loved to worship in church. Keying on the tenets of service and humility, he served as an usher at Christ Church, Rockaway.
In 2016, Dr. Davis purchased a building on Orange Road, across the street from his then-35-year-old practice, to expand services to his community. With a holistic approach to not just healing but to community solutions, for over 20 years he served and presided over the South End Business Association. In 2019, he accepted an appointment to the Montclair Board of Education, where he made contributions to its governance and policy work.
He served on the medical staff at Montclair Community Hospital and Meadowlands Hospital. He held memberships in the American Chiropractic Association Council on Sports Injuries and Roentgenology, the Council on Chiropractic Education, Business Networking International, as well as Jersey Ski. He was past president of the American Black Chiropractic Association, an initial member of the original New Jersey State Board of Chiropractic Examiners and its first African American president.
He worked tirelessly “to help as many people as possible become healthy and well through natural methods” and emblazoned that message on the facade of his practice in the words “Live Life Well.” His gracious manner and character beyond reproach endeared him to all.
Dr. Davis is survived by his wife, Dianna; son, Alfred Davis III; two brothers, Darnell P. and A. Frizzell Davis; three aunts, Alease Colona, Shirley Higgs and Yvonne Brooks, and a host of cousins, other family, colleagues and friends.
He was predeceased by his parents, Alfred and Sylestine Davis; his grandparents, Ardee J. and Beatrice J. Booker and Everline Jones; three uncles, Wyman Colona, John B. Higgs and Freddie Carnell Townes, and a first cousin, Wyman Colona Jr.
Dr. Davis’ life was celebrated on Friday, Dec. 17, at Christ Church, Rockaway.
He will be interred at Tearwallet Baptist Church Cemetery in Cumberland, Virginia, on Sunday, Dec. 19, after a viewing at 11 a.m. and a graveside service at 1 p.m.
Arrangements were by Brown Funeral Home of Plainfield and Marian Gray Thomas Funeral Home of Cumberland.