Charles Croffard “Doc” Dockery, 89, of Lakeland peacefully passed away at Good Shepherd Hospice House on Monday, August 1, 2022. Doc was born in Elkin, NC, on May 6, 1933.
He left the tobacco farm where he grew up with his grandparents, mother, and brother to join the Air Force where he served in numerous stations including Germany and Okinawa. During his eight years in the military Dockery advanced to writing speeches for Colonels and Generals.
He later earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Journalism from Florida Southern College and settled in Lakeland.
Doc is truly a self-made man and entrepreneur. Chief among his many business successes, was founding Summit Consulting—and instilling a culture of service into a company that started as a one-man shop and which has grown into a well-respected business that has employed thousands of people in the 40 years since. He recruited many talented people who are responsible for Summit’s success today. Summit recently relocated to a beautiful multi-story building in downtown Lakeland.
Doc spent decades involved with political candidates and causes on local, state, and national levels. From serving on the School Board to mentoring candidates, to advising Governors, and changing the State Constitution to being invited to the White House under more than one President. He is best known for his activism on promoting High Speed Rail but there was so much more.
Doc was incredibly generous in the Lakeland community and beyond. He sent hundreds of children to summer camp, provided dozens of sheltered bus stops throughout Lakeland, funded buildings at Webber College, funded a vegetable garden at the Boys and Girls Club to teach city kids where food came from and helped in dozens of ways anonymously to improve the lives of others less fortunate.
Doc couldn’t stay away from his rural roots and bought farmland in Central Florida for citrus, cattle, a family garden, and protection of wildlife. Doc was happy on his John Deere tractor. The family spent many a wonderful Thanksgiving at the farm.
Doc also loved to fish and hunt with family and his closest of friends. In recent years he traded those more active hobbies for finding beautiful outdoor spots to enjoy nature while sitting on a bench and chewing his tobacco. Dogs gravitated toward him because they have a sense for good people. Strangers did as well. Over the years he made “Bench Buddies—people from all walks of life that returned to see Doc because he was a good listener and an interesting storyteller.
From humble beginnings, a modest and private man led a remarkable life.
Doc traveled the world. In addition to visiting the last of the 50 states on his bucket list—North Dakota, he’s filled numerous passports with international travel. The Cayman Islands, Bermuda, London, Germany, New Zealand, Tahiti, and Africa were some of his favorite destinations.
Doc is survived by his adoring wife of 33 years, Former State Senator Paula Bono Dockery, Son Carl Dockery (Andrea), Daughter Michele Jones (Fred), Grandchildren Katharine Dockery and Justin Renwald, Great Grandchildren Raelin and Jyden Renwald, Nephews Brian Dockery (Danica) and Alan Dockery, Niece Vickie Boyte, Sister-in-law, Norma Dockery and six great nieces and nephews and their children.
Funeral services will be on Thursday, August 11, 2022, at 11 a.m. at First United Methodist Church. After reception at the church welcome center, there will be a procession to Oak Hill Burial Park starting at 1:30 p.m.
In lieu of flowers…no we’re just kidding…Doc was a country boy and loved flowers. Doc was also charitable so please consider making a donation to a favorite charity. We are particularly grateful to the Good Shepherd Hospice in Lakeland for their incredibly kind and compassionate care. Condolences may be sent to the family at Heath Funeral Chapel.