Joseph Harrison Davis M.D.

April 16, 1924March 19, 2013
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Davis--Joseph Harrison, MD, 88, retired chief medical examiner for Miami Dade County, Florida, died peacefully in his sleep on March 19, 2013. Born April 16, 1924 to Samuel and Adah Davis, he grew up in Scarsdale NY and attended Lehigh University until he enlisted in the US Army during WWII. The Army sent him to Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Princeton University and the Long Island College of Medicine where he received his MD. He served in the Public Health Service which deployed him to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, where he met his wife, RoseMarie Lorentzen, a nurse at the Tacoma Indian Hospital. Their growing family moved to New Orleans where he studied pathology at LSU before moving to Miami in 1956 to open the first Medical Examiner office with his mentor, Dr. Stanley H. Durlacher. After the sudden death of Dr. Durlacher he became the Chief Medical Examiner of Miami Dade County, the position he held for 40 years. During this time he pioneered advances in forensic medicine and public safety legislation. He trained many in the field of forensics and worked tirelessly and closely with detectives, doctors, nurses, lawyers, judges, engineers, legislators and the families of the bereaved. He was a professor of Pathology, University of Miami, served as Chairman of the Medical Examiners Commission, State of Florida, President of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, President of the National Association of Medical Examiners, Commissioner on the National Commission on the Future of DNA Evidence and the National Medicolegal Review Panel. He was a member of Alpha Omega Alpha, Long Island College of Medicine, Iron Arrow Society and Omicron Delta Kappa, University of Miami, and Phi Beta Delta, American Academy of Forensic Sciences. He was a lifelong member of the NRA and the NMLRA. He received numerous awards and honors for his service including the Milton Helpburn Laureate from the National Academy of Medical Examiners, The Gerber-Busbee Award from the International Association of Coroners and Medical Examiners, the William R. Maples Award for Lifetime Contributions in Forensic Medicine, University of Florida, The Distinguished Rotarian Award from the Rotary Club of Miami, and received the Gradwohl Laureate, the highest honor in forensic science, from the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. He was preceded in death by his sister Aldean Walner, brother, Robert Davis and his dear granddaughter Janet Cotee and beloved wife, RoseMarie. He is survived by children Cathy Eby, Frankie Ferguson, Susan Towson, Margene Kuersteiner, Bobbi (Budgie) Malinski, Barbara Davis, and son, Joseph Davis Jr. He is also survived by 37 grandchildren & great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews. In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to Parkinson’s research, Cystic Fibrosis research, or the Rotary Club of Miami. A celebration of life will be held in Monticello, Florida on Saturday, April 6, 2013 at 2:00 pm at Christ Episcopal Church - Address: 425 N Cherry St, Monticello, FL 32344 . In Miami, a memorial service will be held on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 10:00 am at the Miami Dade County Auditorium – Address: 2901 W Flagler Street, Miami, FL.


  • Celebration of Life Saturday, April 6, 2013
  • Celebration of Life Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Joseph Harrison Davis M.D.

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Michael Davis

September 11, 2017

Was so sorry to hear about Joe. Best from all your Davis family in Ohio.

Barbara Davis

April 16, 2016

Dad shooting a black powder pistol at Richard McClelland's home. Lot's of great memories there!

Barbara Davis

April 16, 2016

Today, April 16th, was dad's birthday. He would have been 92. I miss him every day. Today I spent several hours with his grandsons Joey and Harper who have grown a lot since dad passed away. He would have loved watching them play together today. Great reports cards, too! Just like his childhood.
His friend Richard McClelland sent me some photos this week. I will upload a few of them here today. Great times with cannons and black powder revolvers! Dad;s idea of a great time with friends.

Barbara Davis

April 16, 2016

David Deehl

December 28, 2015

The film Concussion reminded me of Dr. Davis, including the work he did on pesticides and motorcycles.

Barbara Davis

December 27, 2015

Tony Broussard MD

December 26, 2015

Yes, always to be missed, but all do remember.

Joann Habermann

December 25, 2015

I am responding to this obit almost three years late. Dr. Davis hired me as a forensic pathology fellow in 1997 and then retired, leaving me in a maelstrom of two warring Chiefs. It was a very ugly situation.
Nonetheless, my correspondence with Dr. Davis continued for twenty odd years. He was a magnificent person with enormous integrity who most often had answers to many difficult medical issues and problems.
Although I soon left forensic pathology for surgical pathology, Dr. Davis was always an email buddy.
In the last five years, I became perhaps too busy with my practice and so Dr. Davis became a less regular correspondent.
I pains me that I never gave Dr. Davis a proper send off and so I will have to do so in my memory.
So, goodbye Dr. Davis. You were one of a kind.

daughter #6

April 15, 2014

April 16th, was dad's birthday. Tomorrow will also be the 1st anniversary of his memorial in Miami Dade. Reminds me that dad had so many, many dear friends. I miss seeing you all at visits to "Lakewood". Fond memories.

Barbara Davis

March 24, 2014

Thinking of you and mom. Spent the week of March 17th-20th with Aunt Goody, remembering good times with Uncle Norman. Drove to Deception Pass, LaConner, and all around Anacortes. Everything reminded me of you, dad. At every great meal we talked about how much you would have loved it all! Returning to Seattle for my flight I had a clear view of Mt Ranier, which you climbed with Lou Whittaker.