The Honorable Joseph B. Davis, Jr., 77, husband of Jacquelyn “Jackie” Earle Davis, died Thursday, May 14, 2020, at his home. Born December 15, 1942, in Sumter County, he was the eldest son of the late Joseph Barton “Bart” Davis, Sr. and Antonia “Tony” Yates Davis.
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In addition to his wife, he is survived by a son, Joseph Barton Davis III (April), granddaughters, Elizabeth Wells Coffey, Finley Anne Coffey, and Hammond Grace Davis; brothers, Jeffrey W. Davis (Gem) and James H. Davis (Becky); sister-in-law, Sandra A. Davis; and numerous nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by an infant son, Joseph Earle Davis, and a brother, Ronald L. Davis.
Joe graduated from Mayewood High School in 1961 and from Newberry College in 1965. Joe and Jackie met at college and married three weeks after graduation. After college, he taught and coached at Mayewood High School and Furman High School, and he worked as a counselor for SC Vocational Rehabilitation.
He began his career in real estate in 1968 as a sales agent for Commins-Moses Real Estate Agency. He was later the owner and Broker-In-Charge of Coldwell Banker Commins-Moses and Davis Properties, Inc. During his career, he enjoyed negotiating sales contracts and leases for residential and commercial properties. He worked with others in the development of residential properties including Tudor Place and The Oaks. In addition, he managed the commercial development at Miller Road and Alice Drive. Joe and his son worked side by side at Davis Properties, Inc. for eighteen years. He continued to operate the sales division of the company until his death.
He was an active member in local, state, and national professional organizations. He was a member of the Sumter Board of Realtors and the South Carolina Association of Realtors. He was a past president and Realtor of the Year of both organizations. In addition, he served on several committees of the National Association of Realtors.
Joe served on Sumter County Council from 1987-1995. He was elected both vice chairman and chairman during his tenure.
He was appointed to the Summary Court of Sumter County as a magistrate by Governor David Beasley in 1998. Judge Davis’s years on the bench were some of the most fulfilling of his life. He especially enjoyed the camaraderie with his colleagues at the magistrate’s office. He retired from the Summary Court on June 30, 2015.
His involvement in the Sumter community covered many areas. He was a member of the Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce for decades and served as president from 1986 to 1987. He was also an active member of the Sumter Base Defense Committee, the Shaw Sumter Community Council, and the Sumter Development Board.
Joe grew up at Graham Baptist Church. Devoted to his faith, he was a member of Aldersgate United Methodist Church for over forty years. After moving to Lake Marion, he attended Bethlehem United Methodist Church at Davis Station. During the summer months, he worshiped at Edwin Boyle Santee Summer Ministry “Boat Church.” He was a long-standing board member of the summer ministry and served as chairman a number of years.
Growing up with his three brothers on their family’s farm laid the foundation for Joe’s work ethic. He often recalled that the hogs were fed before they ate and the fields were plowed before they slept. Throughout his adult life, he got up at daybreak, exercised at the Sumter Family YMCA, was the first one to arrive at his office, and the last one to leave.
Joe was known for being both frugal and generous. The family often joked that he would give almost anyone the shirt off of his back, but one could bet that the shirt was bought on sale.
Joe rarely spoke of any successes or honors he achieved. His sources of pride and joy were his wife, his son, his daughter-in-law, his three granddaughters, and his brothers. Although he enjoyed his friends and neighbors at his homes in Sumter and on the lake, his heart was always at the farm on Bart Davis Road where he spent his youth. Jackie often teased Joe that the world could begin and end at the Sumter/Clarendon County lines and he would be perfectly happy. He did not disagree.
The family wishes to thank Dr. Hugh Stoddard and his staff, the oncology team at the Hollins Cancer Center of MUSC, Amedisys Hospice of Sumter, Visiting Angels of Sumter, and special family friends, Dr. Eddie W. Duffy and Jerald Tindal. The family also extends their gratitude to John M. Brabham, Jr. and his staff for their kindness in affording Joe III the opportunity to accompany his father to Charleston for his treatments and to be with him during his hospice care.
Graveside services will be held at 4 p.m. Saturday in the Brunson Cemetery on Plowden Mill Road with the Rev. Reginald Thackston and the Rev. David Day officiating. Those attending are requested to be mindful of social distancing.
Memorials may be made to Aldersgate United Methodist Church, 211 Alice Drive, Sumter, SC 29150; Bethlehem United Methodist Church, C/O Gayle Boykin, 1119 Newman Circle, Summerton, SC 29148; or Edwin Boyle Santee Summer Ministry, C/O Frankie Moore, 38 Pathfinder Drive, Sumter, SC 29150.
Elmore-Cannon-Stephens Funeral Home and Crematorium of Sumter is in charge of the arrangements.