John Phil Davis, age 82

John Phil Davis

John Phil Davis passed away Oct. 24, 2012 after 82 wonderful years of life, sharing 63 of those in unwavering love with his adored wife, Theresa.

He lived and loved every single day of it. Born a country boy in Zebulon, Ga. on February 15, 1930, John was raised on a farm by loving parents, John Phil Davis, Sr. and Mary Ethel Carter Davis. John and his siblings, Kathryn, Kelly, and Clinton (Tunny) knew the joy of days filled with outdoor play combined with hard work to help the family.

Even as a boy, John was energetic and charming. He was recognized as Most Popular Boy in his 1946 senior class and won the high school state tennis championship title that same year. Throughout his life, he remained active, enjoying golf, fishing, and hunting. Also a handyman and "fixer," he relished taking cars apart and putting them back together.

When he was 17, John accompanied his sister Kathryn and her baby son, Mike, to California to join Kathryn's husband Sam where he was stationed with the Marines. So inspired by what he saw, after returning home, John joined the Marine Corps himself, and always considered that a turning point in his life, where he learned discipline, respect, and integrity.

John met the love of his life, Theresa, in 1947 at a Griffin drug store lunch counter where John worked as a soda jerk. Theresa remembers seeing him walking down the street in his Marine dress blues to meet her upon returning home from basic training at Paris Island. She still recalls the giddiness she felt that day and continued to feel throughout their marriage. After a two-year courtship, John and Theresa were married on December 18, 1949. Every day for the past several years, John has made a point to tell Theresa how beautiful she is and thank her for loving him and for giving him four beautiful daughters. As parents, John and Theresa shared a symbiotic partnership that served as an outstanding example for their children and grandchildren.

After selling insurance and living with in-laws for a while in Griffin, John began his dream job on June 2, 1952, as a mechanic with Delta Airlines making $1.32 per hour. Through hard work, determination, and a daily love of his work, John rose through the ranks to become Vice President of Maintenance for the last twenty of his 41-year career. He loved Delta Airlines. He said there was never a day of work he didn't enjoy and never a person there that he didn't like. Although that sounds a bit unbelievable, he meant it and lived it, always believing that attitude makes the person. John and his family were fortunate to travel the world for both work and pleasure, and he enjoyed reminiscing about all the places they had been together.

As a husband, Dad, and 'Pops' (grandfather), John was an inspiration to all of us and we are so grateful to him for the life lessons he taught us. Lessons about positive attitudes, caring for others, working hard, being generous, enjoying life, not worrying, and above all, loving each other. John had an amazing ability to make anyone who came in contact with him feel special. When talking with him, you knew you had his undivided attention.

John was predeceased by his parents, sister Kathryn, and brother Kelly.

He will be greatly missed and forever adored by the love of his life, Theresa, four daughters, four grandchildren, and fourteen great-grandchildren. Daughters, Cindy Gleason and her husband Jim of Newnan, Cathy Davis of Peachtree City, Caren Davis of Jackson, Cheryl Curtis of Peachtree City, grandson Laramie Lewis, wife Kim and their children, Shawn, Hailey, Harley, Greenley, and Chase of Jackson, grandson Kyle Lewis and wife Julie and their children, Austin, Tristan, and Lukas of Locust Grove, grandson Jeff Truitt and wife Ashley and their children Evan and Sarah of Peachtree City, granddaughter Keri Bethea and husband Luke, and their children Caleb, Samantha, Noah, and Jonah of Senoia, brother Clinton Davis and his wife Pat of Griffin, and sister-in-law Rebecca Davis of Forest Park. His grandchildren hovered by his bedside during his recent illness, illustrating their love and admiration for their dear Pops.

Contributions in John's honor may be sent to Southwest Christian Care at 7225 Lester Road Union City, Ga. 30291 or the Baroness Erlanger Foundation at 975 East Third Street, Chattanooga, Tenn. 37403.

A celebration of John's life was held at 11 a.m. on Friday, October 26, at Carl J. Mowell & Sons, 200 Robinson Road, Peachtree City.