Legendary black educator John S. Davis, Jr. dies

July 30, 2015
John S. Davis, Jr.

John S. Davis, Jr., former Robert T. Fulton Junior High School principal, passed on Sunday, July 19 after a courageous battle with cancer. He was 90 years old. Davis was born to educators John and Lillian Davis on December 14, 1924 in Patterson, LA; he and his siblings witnessed dedication to educational excellence. He began his learning through his parents, the Louisiana educational system followed by earning a bachelor of science degree in elementary education at Grambling State University (former Grambling Negro Normal College). Upon graduation, he taught history, science and biology at the high school in Homer, LA. Soon after, he met and married the love of his life Dorothy Walker.

Davis attended the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor where he received his master of science degree in Administration. His life journey led him to Milwaukee where he became a sixth grade teacher at Garfield Elementary School for 13 years before Central Office offered him the position of Supervisor of Federal Projects for the Milwaukee Public School System (MPS). After holding that position for two years, the social unrest of the 60’s required his return to a more hands-on participation in the MPS school district.

He was appointed to Palmer elementary School in 1967 where he served as the second African American principal in Milwaukee. Shortly after arriving at Palmer, he was reassigned to Robert Fulton Junior High School where he had a stellar career that spanned from 1968 to 1984. Davis was a faithful member of the Canaan Baptist Church in Milwaukee, WI for 49 years before moving to Louisiana in 2005. While living there, he served as deacon at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Homer, LA from 2005 until his health failed in 2014. At that time, Davis returned to Milwaukee to be closer to his family and united with a new church. His new pastor, Rev. Dr. Archie Ivy from the New Hope Missionary Baptist Church was a former Fulton teacher. Ivy stated, “Mr. Davis was a great leader and administrator. He had an excellent relationship with his students and faculty”.

He further shared, “Mr. Davis was very professional. I watched him and learned how to be a principal.” Ivy later became the principal of North Division High School. Davis was very active in the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. He also served his country with honor and distinction in World War II as a United States Marine. He is preceded in death by his beloved wife of 57 years, Dorothy; his parents, John and Lillian Davis; his brothers Frank, Clarence and Winfred Davis; sister Leonez Davis; and mother-in-law Lizzie Blackmon. His memory will forever be cherished by his family, including his children, John III, Patricia WilliamsFrance, Sharon (Gregory) Patterson, all of Milwaukee, WI; five grandchildren, Norris Williams, Jr., Nia ( David) Harris, Mallory Davis, all of Milwaukee, WI; four greatgrandchildren, all of Milwaukee, WI; and a host of family and friends. Funeral services were held on Saturday, July 25, 2016 at New Hope Missionary Baptist Church., 2433 W. Roosevelt Drive, and was followed by a service celebrating his