Ottis Grady Hirst was born July 4, 1897 in Mt. Moriah, Nevada County, Arkansas to the farming family of Judge Jesse J. and Susan A. Hirst. After graduating from Cale High School in 1914 he entered Arkansas Medical School in Little Rock. On May 29, 1918 he graduated from the University of Arkansas Medical Sciences campus, enlisted in the U.S. Army and was stationed at Camp Pike in Little Rock. In May, 1919, following the end of World War I, he returned to Prescott where he started a medical practice with Drs. Buchanan and Buchanan at the age of 22.* A few years later he joined the local National Guard Unit and served as Captain and Commanding Officer of the Medical Detachment Company C. He was Nevada County Coroner from 1921 – 1922.
After the Cora Donnell Hospital was completed in Prescott in 1924, he served as the hospital’s anesthesiologist until reentering the Army in 1941 at the outbreak of World War II. Prior to the war, in addition to his position at the hospital, he continued to serve as County Coroner from 1929 until the outbreak of the war. After reenlisting, he was among the first troops that made the landing a Normandy Beachhead and was attached to General Patton’s third army while in Germany. In June 1942, Dr. Hirst was promoted from Captain to Major. At the end of the war he returned to Prescott and resumed his medical practice at Cora Donnell Hospital. Dr. Hirst continued to serve the medical community of Prescott until his untimely death in 1959, serving from 1919 to 1941 and again from 1945 to 1959, a total of 36 years in all.
Dr. Hirst was a member of the Nevada County Medical Society and the Arkansas Medical Society. He served as Prescott’s City Health Officer for ten years. He remained active with the National Guard Unit until retiring in 1957 with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. A Methodist, he was a member of the Board of Stewards for many years and had been chairman of the board for the five years prior to his death.
Dr. Hirst was fatally injured in an automobile accident on October 30, 1959. In his obituary it was stated “For the past forty-one years he has dedicated his life to he service of humanity, traveling long distances any time of the day or night. His jolly chuckle and his pleasing and easy manner will linger long in the memory of his many friends, associates and patients”**.
Dr. Hirst was laid to rest in DeAnne Cemetery on November 1, 1959.
*Centennial History of Arkansas, Volume II, page 133
**Nevada News, November 5, 1959. Transcribed by Judy T. Duke, Museum Director, Nevada Co. Depot and Museum
John T. Mitchell, BSBA June 15, 2019