Craig Funeral Home Crematory Memorial Park
Joseph Charles Davis died Thursday, May 2, 2013, in St. Augustine, Fla., in the Glenmoor Retirement Community.
He was born Feb. 29, 1916, in Pittsburgh. Because his mother, Agatha (Fischerkeller) Davis, died in the great flu epidemic of 1919, he and his infant sister were raised by his aunt, Marie (Davis) Megahan, his uncle, Samuel Pressell Megahan, and his father, Francis Reuben Davis.
Joe attended schools in Canton, Ohio, and Pittsburgh, where he graduated from the Carnegie Institute of Technology in 1939 with a degree in management engineering.
The leadership Joe exhibited throughout his life was evident in his early years. He attained the rank of Eagle Scout while in high school. At Carnegie Tech, his Delta Tau Delta fraternity brothers elected him president, a decision they quickly regretted when he enforced the college’s ban on alcohol in Greek houses. Joe was also selected to membership in the Dragons, the senior men’s honor society.
Upon college graduation, Joe was hired by Ashland Oil and Refining Co.; his college recruiter described him as an “exceptional find.” He spent his entire professional career with Ashland, embracing the challenge of starting out with a small company and growing with it. After serving on the refinery sales staff in Kentucky, Joe was appointed Pittsburgh Division manager in 1943. In 1951, he was transferred to Ashland as an assistant to the general sales manager; he then became the manager of wholesale sales and ultimately vice president of refinery sales in 1964. Joe was very proud that during his career, Ashland Oil became “the nation’s largest independent supplier of petroleum products.”
Joe tremendously enjoyed his work in the oil industry. He was highly respected by his colleagues, his customers and his competitors for his knowledge of the industry, his integrity and his kindness. He made numerous contributions to the industry and received several awards, including being named Ohio Oil Man of the Year. Gov. Wendell Ford appointed Joe a Kentucky colonel in 1974.
While living in Ashland, Joe’s leadership at Holy Family Church included chairing the parish council. He continued his church and community service when he and his wife, Millie, retired to Sawgrass at Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., in 1980. Devoted to his church, Our Lady Star of the Sea, he was the chairman of the usher and the columbarium committees. At Sawgrass, he was president of the Sawgrass Country Club and was active on the property owners and masters association boards. On the county level, he participated in the St. John’s County Roundtable. In 2001, Joe and Millie moved to Glenmoor Retirement Community, where they thoroughly enjoyed their final years together.
Joe led a fulfilled life. In his leisure time, he enjoyed golf and travel and was a serious bridge player. His aunt described him as “always having his nose in a book” when he was a child, and he maintained this love of reading throughout his life.
However, his wife, Millie, and his family were the source of his deepest joy. He and Millie were married on Sept. 21, 1940, at St. Peter’s Church in Canton, Ohio. At age 96, when lovingly reminiscing about his life with Millie, he said, “We fit together like a glove.” They were devoted to each other during their 69 years of marriage and were very proud of their five children, 16 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. His family has gathered for an annual reunion for 39 years.
For the last five years, Joe hosted the reunion at Glenmoor, a tradition that greatly pleased him. Often four generations were present.
Joe is survived by the following five children: Susan Marie Davis Gooch, Joseph Edward Davis (Joan Barker), Thomas Francis Davis (Mary Beth Hood), Sally Laura Davis and Amy Margaret Davis Nesfeder (Michael Robert).
Additional survivors are his grandchildren, Katrin Anne Gooch Gerig (J. Tyler), Lara Anne Gooch Mann (Nikolas Philip), Joel Anthony Gooch (Alison Sarah Glassman), Mark James Holmes (Tracey Ann Schmidt), Douglas James Holmes, Todd James Holmes (Mariko Inoue), Jennifer Marie Davis Geldhof (Eric James), Christopher Charles Davis, Amy Elizabeth Davis, Bryan Thomas Davis, Katherine Marie Davis, Emily Marie Antworth, Joseph Vinton Antworth, Daniel Richard Nesfeder, Mary Paige Nesfeder and Brett Michael Nesfeder.
Grace Noelle Gerig, Davis Michael Gerig, Samuel Louis Gerig, Elisabeth Davis Mann, Zoe Anton Mann, Hope Marie Mann, Carter Jonah Gooch, Dylan Levi Gooch, Taylor Charles Holmes (fiancée Megan Marie Runck), Allie Marie Holmes, Parker Joseph Geldhof and Brady Charles Geldhof are Joe’s great-grandchildren.
In addition to his wife, Mildred “Millie” Kruck, three beloved family members predeceased him — his sister, Marie Agatha Davis, his sister-in-law, Notre Dame Sister Gertrude Margaret Kruck, and his daughter-in-law, Barbara Ann Williams Davis.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be at 1 p.m. Friday, May 17, 2013, at Our Lady of Good Counsel Church in St. Augustine. A reception for family and friends will follow. A private committal service will take place at Our Lady Star of the Sea at Ponte Vedra Beach at a later time.
In lieu of flowers, contributions to honor Joe may be sent to Our Lady of Good Counsel Church, 5005 Church Road, St. Augustine, FL 32092-0459.
Joe’s family would like to thank the residents and staff of Glenmoor Retirement Community for their kindness, compassion and friendship.
Craig Funeral Home Crematory Memorial Park (craigfuneralhome.com) in St. Augustine is in charge of arrangements.