obt-davis042317-01

James E. Davis

James E. Davis, a World War II veteran and retired factory supervisor, died on Friday, April 14, 2017. He was 96.

He was born on Sept. 3, 1920, in Philadelphia. He was the middle of three sons born to the late Harrison and Louise Davis, Sr. His mother died from complications giving birth to his youngest brother when he was three years old. Being a widower with three young boys, Davis’ father entrusted their care to their aunt, the late Bishop Minnie Harvin. Davis and his brothers were reared in South Philadelphia in a Christian home.

Davis was educated in the Philadelphia public school system. He left Central High School after completing the ninth grade to work with his older brother Harrison Jr. driving trucks.

Davis enlisted the United States Army in 1941, serving in WWII until he was honorably discharged in 1945. He was assigned to Company K, 47th QM Regiment as a truck driver in Normandy, Rhineland and Ardennes. As a soldier, he rose to the rank of technician fifth grade or corporal, receiving several commendations and medals.

He married Marion E. Tuck on Feb. 23, 1946 and had two daughters.

Davis worked for the Celotex Corporation, later known as Allied Chemical, in Grays Ferry as a factory worker manufacturing roofing materials for more than 25 years. He retired in 1979 as a supervisor. Upon his retirement, he spent his time completely remodeling the family home.

At an early age, he accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior and was baptized at the First Union Church of God under the direction of his aunt. He was a member of Greater St. Matthew Independent Church and later, Cathedral of Praise Community Church where he faithfully served as an usher.

“Pop/Pops,” “Pop-Pop,” “Shorty” or “Mr. D” as he was affectionately known, was a mild-mannered, laid-back guy. He was a fixture on the 600 Block of N. 55th Street for more than 40 years before moving to University Square Apartments.

His family said when he gave up cigarettes, Werther’s Original candy was his American Express card; he never left home without it. On family road trips, you could always tell where he sat in the car or where he was by looking for the trail of candy wrappers. He found joy in traveling to Bermuda, bowling, photography, being around his family and attending family reunions where he would catch up with his many first cousins.

Davis was the family and neighborhood “Mr. Fix It,” sharing his skills with anyone. He rented a garage in the 5500 block of Cambridge Street where one could find him many a day working on someone’s car. Neighbors called on him day and night to fix anything from a leaky faucet to a dead engine block. His mechanical skills enabled him to drive a car until it could not be driven anymore.

His favorite automobile was the Chevrolet Impala. He drove until a few days before his 95th birthday. He maintained his independence until late last summer when the toil of old age began to set in. His daughter, Inez, and her children served as his caregivers until his passing.

He was preceded in death by his parents; stepmother; wife, Marion; brothers, Harrison Jr., Alfred, (John) Leonard, Ronald and Sonny Copeland; and sisters, Clara and Ida Copeland and Emma.

He is also survived by: his daughter, Gail; grandchildren, Ruth Marcus-Sturgis (Michael Sr.), James Marcus (Joann), Anthony Marcus Sr. (Clarissa) and Kimberly Cherry; great-grandchildren, Lauren, Al-Kebulan (Kiari), Michael Jr., Anthony Jr., James, Zahra, Christian and Siani; great-great-grandchildren, Taylor, Isaiah, Kylee, Enki, Janiyah, Aaron and Michael III; brother-in-law, Bishop Raymond Walker; and other relatives and friends.

Services were held Monday at Mt. Carmel Baptist Church, 5732 Race St. Viewing started at 9 a.m. Services followed at 11 a.m. Burial was held April 25 at 10:30 a.m. at Washington Crossing National Cemetery.

ajones@phillytrib.com (215) 893-5714

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