Dr. Dudley Keever

On a Ridgeville Ohio farm in 1859, Dudley Keever was born to Quaker parents. Dudley’s father Moses was a doctor serving Ridgeville and Springboro. Dudley attended a one-room schoolhouse, then Miami Valley Institute in Springboro, and then graduated the Miami Medical College in Cincinnati (later the University of Cincinnati) in 1884.

Now Dr. Keever, Dudley started his own practice in Springboro, and then met fellow Quaker Ida Wright, who he married. In 1890, the Keevers moved to Centerville and opened a practice on the northeast corner of Main Street and Franklin Street, where City Barbecue is presently.

For 63 years, Dr. Keever acted as physician, surgeon, dentist, and pharmacist to the community, and also provided house calls. He often accepted pay in the form of produce, meats, and other goods. As his father did before him, Dr. Keever visited patients with his horse and buggy, or on horseback.

Eventually, Dr. Keever drove his Chrysler automobile to appointments – but many were frightened of his driving, as when Dr. Keever ran the newly-installed red light, he reportedly responded with, “I came before traffic lights!

In 1902, Washington Township trustees hired Dr. Keever to provide surgical and medical services to the underprivileged for $75 per year. He continued to practice until 1946, at the age of 87. Dr. Keever lived to be 93 years old, passing away in 1953. In his older years, he liked to tell people that at the age of 30 an examiner refused him life insurance stating that he had a “bad heart.” Dr. Keever and his wife Ida are both buried in the Springboro Cemetery.

Before his death, Dr. Keever was honored in 1940 by the Montgomery County Medical Society as the physician with the longest service to patients in the county, and lauded as “symbolic of the family physician who has been the bulwark of medicine in its great development.

Today Centerville-Washington History honors Dr. Keever’s legacy by displaying Dr. Keever’s desk chair, which was donated to the society in January of 2009.

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