The community said goodbye this week to Gordon E. Davis, a remarkable individual who exemplified kindness and service to others throughout his life.
Davis, who served for 20 years on the Washington C.H. City Council and as a letter carrier with the U.S. Postal Service for 37 years, passed away on Aug. 6 at the age of 88 following a short illness. He was the third son of Glen E., Sr. and Veral (Yahn) Davis, and was born Sept. 23, 1926 in Fayette County.
“Gordon Davis was an enormously dedicated citizen of this community,” said Washington City Manager Joe Denen during Wednesday’s city council meeting. “Yes, he cared about the city, but he was somebody that associated people with where they lived, where their kids went to school and where your parents grew up. He had a very honest love of this place and the people in it. Gordon liked to tell stories…a lot of times they were about the city, a lot of times they were about his family. Gordon had a very gentle way of telling stories that were about getting along with people and appreciating other people. He is someone I will truly miss.”
Davis is survived by the love of his life, Mary Lorane (Boylan) Davis, with whom he was married for over 67 years; four children, James (Sandra Janes), Douglas (Linda Kuhlwein), Janet, and William (Sam Montgomery); five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren; brother Neil Davis; and many cousins, nieces and nephews. He was laid to rest on Monday following a mass at the church he was a member of for 68 years, St. Colman of Cloyne Catholic Church in Washington C.H.
“Gordon was the person who nudged and prodded me into running for trustee when I wasn’t sure that I was going to run again,” said Marie Fetters, a Wayne Township Trustee and member of St. Colman church. “He thought that I really needed to do it – he seemed to have a great deal of faith in me – and I took that as a compliment.”
Davis graduated from Washington High School in 1944. He served in the U.S. Coast Guard and Ohio National Guard. Following his time in the service, he became a letter carrier. He was particularly proud of his 20 years of elected service on the Washington C.H. City Council, and was council president and interim city manager for a time.
“Some people run for political office because it’s a cool thing,” said Dale Lynch, current city council member. “Some people run because they are mad at someone or somebody. Then there are some people who run because they have a real love and care about what they’re running for. Gordon certainly had that. I remember during the last election, the newspaper asked me who my inspiration was and I said, ‘Gordon Davis.’ It didn’t make a bit of difference if you agreed with the way he voted or his politics, but you couldn’t help but agree with the love he had for this city.”
According to his family, Davis enjoyed making deliveries for and seeing old friends at The Print Shop in Washington C.H. He was also a member of numerous social and civic clubs, including the Fayette County Democratic Party, BPO Elks (Exalted Ruler), Knights of Columbus (Grand Knight, Knight of the Year), and Jeffersonville Masonic Temple.
“Our community will certainly miss Gordon Davis,” said Kim Bonnell, current city council member. “I have known and admired Gordon Davis my whole life.”
Leah Foster, another current council member, said she did not know Davis very well, but appreciated his service. “It is pretty amazing that Gordon served up until the very end,” she said. “It’s really amazing.”
Davis was a lifelong fan of the Cincinnati Reds and Ohio State’s football team. He loved nothing better than talking politics, baseball and spending time with his family and many friends.
Lance Cranmer covered Davis with the Record-Herald during Davis’ final years as a city councilman and the two became friends. “Despite spending two decades working in local government, Gordon never came across as a politician,” said Cranmer. “He was a proud Fayette County man who wanted to serve his community in any way he could. In nearly four years of covering Gordon, I admired the work he did as a public servant. But I admired him even more in the way he lived his life as a good man and a good friend. He’ll be greatly missed.”
Ben Roby, the current city council chairperson, picked Davis up at his home and drove him to council meetings during Davis’ final term. “It was really a privilege,” said Roby. “He was always very interesting and he was a perfect gentleman.”
Current city council member Jim Chrisman reiterated how much Davis will be missed by this community.
“Gordon Davis is going to be missed by a lot of people,” he said. “He certainly had the city at heart, plus the people in it.”