Reflections Of Life
RUSSELL WALLACE DAVIS, JR.
Entered into Life: 1952 Entered into Eternity: 2019
Russell Wallace Davis, Jr. was born at Douglas Hospital, Quindaro, Kansas, 67 years ago to Russell Wallace Davis and Elsie Clementine Dinsmore Davis. Russ, as he was affectionately called, was the only son and the youngest of the five Davis children. He relished his position as the number one son, often teasing his sisters that his parents really only wanted a boy but had to endure having four girls before he finally arrived. As the baby of the family and the only boy, his sisters teasingly recalled the special privileges he enjoyed during their youth. For example, pre-seat belts and car seats Russ always got to sit in the front seat of the family car with his parents, a coveted spot. He rarely had to share in the household chores. And most glaring, of the five children he was the only one to get a bicycle. Notwithstanding, the adult Russell Jr. had a generous heart and a hallmark of his life was his giving spirit.
Russ completed his early education in the Kansas City, Kansas School District graduating from Wyandotte High School. He continued his education at Pittsburg State College before enlisting in the United States Army where he honorably served. On discharge, Russell Jr. joined the Kansas National Guard.
Russ was the son of a minister and was raised in a Christian home. He accepted Christ at an early age, and was a man of faith, who readily testified to the goodness of God. He was a worshiper; blessed with an internal monitor which led him to follow the true preached gospel of Christ through associating with area ministries wherever he resided. While he spent most of his adult life in the Kansas City area, a job relocation took him to Texas. For the past five years, Russell faithfully worshiped and served at Antioch Christian Church in Irving, Texas under the leadership of Rev. Norris McGill. There, Russ' friendly and outgoing personality was a perfect fit for his dedicated work in the Usher Ministry. Members and visitors always received a welcoming smile and a warm greeting as he wholeheartedly embraced his role. Quoting Psalm 84:10 Russ would say: “For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, then to dwell in the tents of wickedness.”
Russell Jr. loved family. While his 1998 marriage to Sharon Jeffery ended in divorce, they were blessed with the birth of his only child, Shanise Jean Davis. He was a doting father to Shanise, and her three children held a special place in his heart. Though living out of state, he returned here to be with her at the birth of two of his granddaughters, and only missed the birth of a third by a few hours. Each of his granddaughters had a special name for him, and he relished spending time with them. Every visit back to Kansas included an outing to one of their favorite eating spots. Russ was also a favorite among his nieces, nephews and cousins. A number of them attribute their love of sunflower seeds, popcorn, and guacamole to him.
In addition to his love of family and friends, Russell had a passion for helping others. This was most evident in his longtime volunteer and Board affiliation with the Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey. Because of his community activism and organizing abilities, Russ was asked by the mayor of Kansas City to serve on a task force to develop a program primarily for inner city youth. As quoted in a NETWORK article, “Russell hosted the organizing committee of an eclectic group that met in his union hall. What they started that day has evolved into an organization that has reached more than 1 million people in the Kansas City metropolitan area through performance, presentations, programs and events. Russell Davis has been one of the driving forces behind it.
Russ transitioned to peace in Las Colinas, Texas on Tuesday, October 29, 2019 after valiantly fights a series of health challenges. He was preceded in death by his parents, Rev. Russell W. Davis, Sr. and Mrs. Elsie C Davis, and his sister Rita Linda Savage. Surviving him are his loving daughter Shanise Davis; three adoring granddaughters, La'Jayah Gillis, La'Nijah Gillis and Shaneah Ford; his sisters, Constance Davis-Springer, Marlene Davis and Dawna Edwards-Rodgers; nieces, Alicia Fouser, Johnda Neazer, Michelle Boston, Michelle Edwards, Octavia Savage-Campbell and Marquita Davis; nephews, Gerald Springer, Jr., Geoffrey Springer, James Edwards, Jonmichael Butler; Special Cousins, Della Keeling, Cheryl Snorgrass, Verona Plummer and Sallie Williams; devoted friend Juanita Mason, and a host of extended family and friends.
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