Dr. Orville Walls, Sr.
A key component of any community is the shared commitment to caring. For many Kennett residents, no one exemplified that point better than Dr. Orville R. Walls, Sr. Starting in 1939, his family medical practice at 219 East Linden Street treated Kennett families regardless of their color or ability to pay. Dr. Walls was also active in many area hospitals and medical centers and worked incredibly long hours as an enlistment physician during World War II. Even still, he found time to commit to his family and the community beyond just his immediate profession. He served on many area boards and organizations, including the Boy Scouts of America, the Panhellenic Assembly, the Frontiers International Club, the Progressive Building and Loan Association, and the Kennett Square Planning Board.
While Dr. Walls was not originally from Kennett, his family had deep roots in Chester County. The Walls family lived near Oxford beginning in the mid-18th century. In fact, the Walls family owned parts of the land where Lincoln University and the adjacent Hosanna Church now stand. The Walls family celebrates this longstanding history by holding annual family reunions at the Hosanna Church – but the legacy doesn’t end there.
Like his father before him, Dr. Walls attended Lincoln University graduating in 1929. Shortly thereafter, he began teaching in a segregated one-room Maryland schoolhouse until being admitted to Meharry Medical College in Nashville in 1932. After receiving his medical degree, he returned to Pennsylvania and completed his medical training at Mercy Douglass Hospital in Philadelphia. Then in 1939, he moved to Kennett where he and his wife, Thelma, raised their only son, Dr. Orville R. Walls, Jr. DVM.
While his unexpected death in 1964 left an enormous void in the community, his legacy throughout Kennett endures, and we’re incredibly proud to share his story.