Obituary for Donald David Davis
Donald D. Davis “Don” – A great teacher, mentor and generous friend to all he knew passed away on May 5, 2021, at his home in Ivins, UT. He was 82, born in Jacksonville, FL to James David Davis and Leo Estelle (Grady) Davis.
After graduating from Lee High School, Don attended Brigham Young University where he played varsity baseball and basketball. He played one season of minor league baseball before deciding to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in southern California and returning to BYU to complete both a BS and MPA degree. He married Elaine Facer in the Salt Lake City Temple on August 20, 1965.
Don began his illustrious career in human resources and labor relations with Mobil Oil Company in NYC. He later worked as a senior executive for several other companies – Ryder Truck Rental in Miami FL, Wilson Foods in Oklahoma City and CSX Transportation in Jacksonville FL. Don served 38 years on the National Advisory Council for the BYU Marriott School of Business and was Chairman from 1998-2000. He felt BYU changed his life and wanted to give back, so after his retirement from CSX in 1998 he taught at the Marriott School before retiring to southern Utah in 2001.
A devout member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Don served in Oklahoma City as a bishop and in Richmond Virginia as president of the Chesterfield VA Stake and in Gunlock UT as a Sunday school teacher. While serving in Virginia, he often pondered with other church leaders the need for an LDS university in the eastern United States. When the opportunity arose in 1996, he co-founded what is now Southern Virginia University and served as a trustee from 1996-2006 and received an honorary PhD in 2006. Always a loyal fan of BYU, Don was surprised when he and Elaine were asked to serve a mission with the BYU Athletic Department in 2002. He offered to be a volunteer, but the university president made it official with the Mission Department of the Church, after which they were both formally called and set apart as missionaries by President Merrill J. Bateman.
Feeling that his success and happiness were born out of his education and experience at BYU, Don endowed scholarships at both BYU and SVU with the hopes that the recipients would also have life changing experiences at these institutions.
He is survived by: his wife of 55 years, Elaine (Facer) Davis; four sons, James Bradley Davis, Jeffrey William Davis (Tracy), Matthew Joseph Davis, and Joshua David Davis (Naomi); 11 grandchildren; and 9 great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by: his parents; and by his brother William Jack Davis; and granddaughter Amber Lynn Davis.
His life will be celebrated in the Gunlock Chapel at 733 N. Main, Gunlock UT on Saturday, May 15, 2021 at 12 noon. A viewing will be held prior to the funeral service from 9:30-11:30am. Burial will be at the Ivins City Cemetery, Ivins, UT.
In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be made to the James D. and Estelle Davis Scholarship in the BYU Marriott School of Business, named in honor of Don’s parents. To make a donation please contact Jeremiah Christenot at 801-372-6349 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Family and friends are invited to share tributes online at www.SerenityStG.com. Arrangements and memorial tree planting by Serenity Funeral Home of Southern Utah, 435-986-9100.