City of Jacksonville


Memorial - Representative Don Davis

Don Davis portraitRepresentative Donald Robert Davis passed away at his home on April 10, 2008, in Jacksonville, Florida, after a courageous battle with cancer.

Born in Okemah, Oklahoma, on June 23, 1931 to Lucien and Lucille Davis, he grew up in Coronado, California, and attended Coronado High School. After graduation Davis attended University of Redlands in California. Davis served in the Army for 3 years as a Sergeant 1st Class during the Korean Conflict earning the Combat Infantryman Badge, National Defense Service Medal and Korean War Ribbon with 3 battle Stars.Following his service he attended the University of California at Los Angeles.

He married Alice Claudia Berry of Miami on December 18, 1954, and they moved to Jacksonville in 1960 where they raised their two sons Robert and Dean.

After several years in the insurance industry as a Certified Life Underwriter (CLU), he served for than 20 years as General Manager of Deerwood Country Club where he continued to live for 36 years. His contention was that he had played more rounds of golf at Deerwood Country Club than anyone in history.

At Gate Petroleum Company, Davis was Vice President of Corporate Relations for the past 23 years where he won the Petroleum Marketers, Legislative Leadership Award in 2001. He was very proud of his relationship with Gate Petroleum and to be one of the Gate Brothers.

Representative Davis was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 2000 and reelected in November 2006 to his final term in office. He served as Chair of the Committee on Economic Development as well as the committee on Urban and Local Affairs and the Economic Expansion and Infrastructure Council. An ardent lover of the performing arts, Davis sponsored and the governor signed, 'The Don Davis Entertainment Industry Economic Development Act,' in June 2007.

Prior to his service in the Florida House of Representatives he was an At Large member of the Jacksonville City Council from 1987 to 1999 and served two terms as President of the City Council. During his tenure he made numerous contributions to the City of Jacksonville, including playing a key role in securing an NFL franchise in Jacksonville. In 1967 he served on the Jacksonville-Duval County Consolidation Committee.

Davis received numerous awards over the course of his career including the Florida Association of Convention & Visitor Bureaus, Legislator of the Year 2003, The Charles Webb Award given to the member of the City Council considered the most valuable by the President of the Council 1997-1998, the Claude Yates Award given to the outstanding member of the Jacksonville City Council by a unanimous vote of its 19 members 1993-1994. Throughout the past 45 years, he was an active member of many organizations including the Jacksonville University Council, Jacksonville Jaycees, Jacksonville and Florida Chamber of Commerce, Mandarin Rotary Club (President 1985), Deerwood Country Club, Florida Theatre; Board of Directors, American Cancer Society; Board of Directors, Jacksonville 1st Tee; Board of Directors, Prisoners of Christ; Board of Directors, Big Brothers of Jacksonville; Board of Directors, Boy's Clubs of Jacksonville; Board of Directors, Northeast Florida Tennis Foundation, Honorable Company of Red Coats; The Players Championship, Chairman, 1998 Mazda Senior Players Championship and the Toyota Gator Bowl Association, President 1987.

This past year he has received several key honors including induction into the Gator Bowl Hall of Fame, the Jacksonville Film Industry Service Award and having the Deerwood Country Club Member - Member Golf Tournament renamed, The Davis Cup.

Representative Davis is survived by his loving wife of 53 years, Alice, his mother Lucile 'Nana' Gardner, his sons Robert (Sharon), Dean (Jillian) and his five grandchildren whom he loved dearly, Lindsay, Rob, Ally, Skylar, Deena, and his brother Ronald Lloyd Davis (Dionne) of LaQuinta, California.