“Texas Panhandle cowboy, survivor of the Dust Bowl, meets California surfer girl, and the restas they sayis legend.” Leslie Alford Davis, Jr.Les, Lad, Dad, Daddy, Pawas a reader, and if there were a biography of his life, that is how the book jacket blurb would read. He loved good books, close games, and one woman, Phyllis Jean, his wife of 59 years. Of all the books he loved, he loved The Good Book. He began his Bible scholarship early on. He told this story in his journal: “We attended First Baptist Church of Texline. I attended B.Y.P.U. Baptist Young People’s Union on Sunday nights. We had a contest on who could read the most verses in the week. I started in Genesis and read the book. Our teacher may have doubted me because the next week we had to report on what we had read. I won the contest and some candy and a bookmark, but, more than that, I won an appreciation of God’s word and my need for Jesus. On a Sunday night at the age of nine, I accepted Christ as my Savior, and He has kept me to this day.” His life was a testimony; “God first” was his motto. Every year at Christmas dinner, he read aloud from the book of Luke and reminded us why we celebrate Christmas. Les served as a deacon and Sunday School teacher at Bethel Baptist Church for over 50 years. One of his proudest achievements was the architectural design of the present Bethel Baptist Church building. He was a member of Giles Creek Baptist Church, Smyrna, TN, at the time of death. In addition to God’s word, Les loved words. A voracious reader and life-long scholar, Les’s knowledge was wide and deep. Who knows words like “adze” and “ell”? Only a consummate crossword puzzler. He liked the wordplay in the “Crypt-o-quip,” too. He was a wordsmith extraordinaire; even during his last few weeks in the hospital, the staff commented on his dry wit and extensive vocabulary. He loved reading the old western novels, a good suspense tale, and the newspaper from beginning to end. Book publishers took a hit when Les started reading on his Kindle and iPad, but he was a man who loved learn and adapted to the times. Not only did Les love word games, but also he loved the world of sports. He began his day watching Mike and Mike on ESPN, taught his daughter-in-law, Shelley, that the St. Louis Cardinals actually had to play seven games to win the “World Seriously,” and survived literally survived many, many rounds of golf with his son, Michael, son-in-law, Larry, and grandsons, Shawn and Joel. That family he and Phyllis created? Well, he loved nothing more than to be with themgoing on vacations, tackling a project, telling them stories. He kept Joy and Michael entertained with tales of Cimarron, San Bernardino, and Falling Rock on car trips years ago, and the grandchildren know those stories, too, now. His children were his purpose in life. Whether he was taking a piece of machinery apart with Michaeland putting it back together and taking it apart again, and so onor watching Jeopardy with Joy, he continued to be their life mentor. His grandchildrenShawn, Joel, Caitlin, and Hallie Bellewere his ultimate joy. He was the boys’ number one fan at football and basketball games. He became a regular theatregoer when any of the grandchildren were on stage. It was Caitlin who dubbed him, “The Favorite,” and he was. He was Hallie Belle’s math tutor and debate partner. Then came the great-grandsons: Sam, Bennett, and Gusa whole new crop of kiddos who are a part of his legacy, who would probably have continued to test his patience that rivaled Job’s. He was unflappable in crisis and steady in the day-to-day adventure that is life. Those of us who are left must find the strength to continue that legacy. He was a sage of practical matters and common sense advicealthough Phyllis maintains the children inherited their common sense from her! He was true cowboy at heart; you can take the boy out of Texas but, well, you know. Les was a quiet man, but when he spoke, we listened. It is our prayer that his wisdom, his wit, and his love will continue to reverberate in our hearts. Leslie Alford Davis, Jr. was preceded in death by his parents, Leslie A. Davis, Sr., Elvena Wehmeier and Walter Wehmeier; brother, David Davis, and brother-in-law, Ivan Jones. Surviving family include step-mother, Roberta Davis Betz, Harlingen, Texas; brothers: Richard wife, Cindy Davis, Sarcoxie, MO; Harry wife, Linda Davis, Seneca, MO; Donald wife, Carol Davis, Grove, OK; Steven wife Cindy Davis, Roswell, NM; Robert wife, C’Ann Davis, Harlingen, Texas; and Doug Davis, Farmington, New Mexico; sisters: Florence Jones, Seneca, MO; Brenda husband, Dave Triplett, Seneca, MO; Patty husband, Tom Kuhn, Neosho, MO; sisters-in-law: Cheryl Davis, Carthage, MO, and Verna husband, Larry Long, Seneca, MO.
Children: daughter, Joy husband, Larry, Nolensville, TN and son, Michael wife, Shelley Davis, Nolensville, TN.
Grandchildren and great-grandchildren: Shawn wife, Cali Ewing and sons Sam and Bennett, Nashville, TN; Joel wife, Laura and Gus, Chicago, IL; Caitlin husband, Kevin, St. Louis, MO, and Hallie Belle Davis, Nolensville, TN. Born in Snyder, TX, August 31, 1935, Les graduated high school Seneca, MO and attended Northeastern A&M, Miami, OK and Crowder College, Neosho, MO. He retired from B. F. Goodrich and managed Boulder Tire and Wheel, Boulder, CO and Taylor Lumber, Seneca, MO. Les was married for 59 years to Phyllis Jean Kuhn; they were married August 22, 1954 at Bethel Baptist Church. A memorial service will be held at Bethel Baptist Church on Saturday, November 30, 2013 at 11:00 am. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions be made to the building fund at either Bethel Baptist Church, 12727 Bethel Road, Seneca, MO 64865 or Giles Creek Baptist Church 7084 Rocky Fork Road, Symrna, TN 37167.