John I. “Jack” Davis

William Davis

BERNE — William Davis last saw his 90-year-old father, John I. “Jack” Davis,  when his father made one last trip from his home in  Pennsylvania to the annual July 4 family get-together in East Berne.

His father died on Friday, Aug.  19, 2016, at Heritage Valley Hospital in Beaver, Pennsylvania.

His son says his father was “very on the ball” until this last trip — a trip of 15 hours from his home in Brighton Township, northwest of Pittsburgh.  Though a daughter would usually share driving duties with him, his son said his father was not the sort of guy to be only a passenger.

“We used to call him the Energizer rabbit,” his son says, recalling how active his father was all his life. “Two years ago, he even put an addition on his house in Beaver. It seems his generation was like that.” Mr. Davis was 88 years old when he built that addition.

Mr. Davis was born March 23, 1926 in Patterson, New Jersey, the son of Clarence and Alta (née Kalen) Davis.

For most of  his working life, Mr. Davis was employed in the steel industry in several states. In Watervliet, he worked for Allegheny Ludlum Steel.  He also worked in South Carolina and Michigan before moving to western Pennsylvania where he worked for Pittsburgh Tube until his retirement.

Not one to retire to an armchair, Mr. Davis, a World War II veteran,  then went to work as a volunteer at the Upper Beaver Valley Veterans Service Center where for over a decade he spent four days a week helping veterans claim and get the benefits due them.

“He advocated for veterans and  friendships grew out of that,” his son said.

He says his father was especially helpful to Vietnam War veterans who were suffering from the effects of Agent Orange, a toxic defoliant employed in that conflict.

“The veterans in the Beaver area will really miss him,” his son said. “He really went the extra mile for the guys.  Volunteer work became a real passion for him.”

“He had a lot of friends in the Berne area,” his son said, “but most of them were gone by the time he made his last trips back here, which brought a note of sadness to him.”

Mr. Davis got his first job after his discharge from the United States Navy during World War II, met his wife, and became a resident of the Hilltowns through the good offices of his father and future father-in-law.  One found the young man a job in a foundry then operating in Auriesville.  And  both agreed he should meet a girl from Dormansville named Ethel Kelly whom he married, a marriage that lasted for 55 years until her death in 2003.

His circle of friends in Berne was large. He was a Past Worshipful Master and 50-year member of the Berne Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons. He also was employed  as a Berne constable, serving summonses for nine years.  He and his family lived in Berne until 1971.

In Beaver, he was  a member of the Beaver United Methodist Church and Commander of the Beaver Falls American Legion Post.

People there, his son says, would enjoy seeing Mr. Davis waving from the Model A Ford he had refurbished and liked to drive in local parades.

Mr. Davis developed new interests all along the course of his life. His son says that in later years he developed an interest in black-powder muzzle-loading flintlock guns, and knowing as he did  a thing or two about metal-working, he took up gunsmithing.

A long-lived man who outlived most of his old friends, he left behind a large family who will keep his memory alive.

“He led a full life,” his son said. “We will miss him.”


John  I. “Jack” Davis is survived by his son C. William “Bud” Davis of East Berne; four daughters: Catherine Buchhardt and her husband, Lance, in Tampa, Florida; JoAnn Davis-Heywood and her husband, Karl, in Evans, Georgia; Ruth Ann Kaleauti and her husband, Karl, in Aiea, Hawaii; Kimberly Tomasko in Brighton Township, Pennsylvania;  his daughter-in-law, Martha Davis; and by 11 grandchildren, and numerous great-grandchildren and  nephews and nieces.

His sister, Eleanor Tallman, died before him. His wife. Ethel Kelly Davis, died in 2003.

A  funeral service  was conducted at the Beaver United Methodist Church  on Aug. 21. Interment with full military rites by the Beaver County Special Unit took place Aug. 22 in the Beaver Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be made to Beaver United Methodist Church, 345 College Avenue, Beaver, Pennsylvania 15009, or to the Upper Beaver Valley Veterans Service Center, 610 Third Avenue, New Brighton, Pennsylvania 15061,

— Tim Tulloch

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