Otho Davis Dies Of Cancer At 66

Posted: May 03, 2000

The Philadelphia sports community has lost another legend.

Otho Davis, the renowned athletic trainer and veteran of 23 seasons with the Eagles, died last evening after waging an inspiring battle against liver and pancreatic cancer.

Davis, 66, passed peacefully with his wife, Mary Louise, family members and close friends at his bedside at St. Agnes Medical Center in South Philadelphia.

Davis' body will be flown to his beloved hometown of Elgin, Texas, where he will be buried alongside his father. Friends may call from 4 to 9 p.m. Sunday at the Pennsylvania Burial Co. (Broad and Reed). The funeral will be Monday at First Presbyterian Church, Riverton and Bridgeboro roads, Moorestown, N.J. A time had not been finalized as of last evening.

Several of Davis' favorite Eagles players will be pallbearers.

"Just as he cared for and carried the Eagles players through so many injuries and tough times, it is only fitting that they now carry him," Mary Louise said.

Davis was diagnosed with cancer in September. He was hospitalized two weeks ago after suffering a stroke linked to his most recent chemotherapy.

Last season, the Eagles inducted Davis into their Ring of Honor at Veterans Stadium.

"They don't come any better than Otho," said close friend Rob Incmikowski, 24. "I'll never forget all he did for me and others from all walks of life. He just loved watching people learn and work to advance in their careers, whatever it was. And he was always willing to help them in any way possible. He was just a special, special man in so many ways."

Davis befriended Incmikowski when he was an Eagles ballboy more than 10 years ago. Incmikowski was awarded the first Otho Davis Scholarship at the Davis Scholarship Foundation's kickoff dinner last November, shortly after the National Athletic Trainers Association Hall of Famer was diagnosed.

More than 600 attended the memorable gala to honor Davis.

Despite his illness, Davis cooked up his special chili for former Eagles coach Dick Vermeil's St. Louis Rams coaching staff when they visited Veterans Stadium in December.

"It was a special weekend for both of us," said Mary Louise. "He loved cooking up that chili."

Among Davis' many accomplishments are:

* Five-time Trainer of the Year honoree by NATA during his time as Eagles head trainer (1973 to '95).

* 1993 induction into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame.

* Induction into the Kent State University Hall of Fame, where he earned his master's degree while working as head trainer from 1957 to '65.

Davis also is the only NFL trainer television analyst John Madden ever named to his annual All-Madden team. Davis is legendary for his concoctions and home remedies for pain and swelling.

Davis earned a physical education degree from Lamar University in 1957, and entered athletic training at Kent. He also served in the U.S. Army Medical Service Corps. In 1965, Davis became head trainer and assistant professor of physical education at Duke University, before being hired as assistant trainer by the Baltimore Colts in 1971.

Beginning in 1973, when he became the Eagles' trainer, Davis' athletic training programs and state-of-the-art rehabilitation practices were widely recognized among the best in pro sports.

In addition to his wife, Davis is survived by four sons: Mark, Harry Roy (Duke), Richard and Thomas; a daughter, Denise Farrington; and six granchildren.

Send e-mail to mulligk@phillynews.com

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