Reverend Elvis C. Davis, Jr.

June 22, 1929 - April 03, 2017

Reverend Elvis C. Davis, Jr.

Elvis Clark Davis, Jr. was born in Butler, Missouri on June 22, 1929, a few months before the beginning of the Great Depression. Like many from that time, he was an only child; quiet, often left to himself, he learned to be self-sufficient, even if he often wished for greater companionship. When he was still a very young boy his family moved to Johnson Bayou, Louisiana, a small marsh town near the border with Texas where Elvis (or E. C., as he was called by his Louisiana cousins) lived the happiest years of his childhood.

But with the start of World War II things began to change. Elvis Sr., an electrician, found work in the bustling Orange shipyards, and the family built a small house in Pinehurst on a wooded lot off Strickland Drive, on Mockingbird Street. There the skinny teenager with the swipe of black hair practiced the tuba that he played in the Stark High School marching band.   

In the years just after the war, Elvis attended Lamar College (soon to be Lamar Tech), driving each day across the Rainbow Bridge to get to campus. He studied business and had a particular interest in economics and accounting. It was during this time that he met and married Lena Johnson, from Deweyville, who was working as a bank teller in Orange.

Leaving school for a time, he worked as an insurance salesman in Orange. But another war was brewing, and this time he wouldn’t be able to serve in the local Naval Reserve as he had a few years before. Expecting to be recalled and not wanting to find himself in the Marine Corps, he enlisted instead in the Army, training at the inappropriately named Fort Bliss in El Paso. After basic training in the blistering West Texas sun, he was put on a train for Seattle and then a troop ship for Japan, on his way to Korea. For six months in 1952-53 he was deployed as an ammunition supply specialist in the Korean combat zone. It was here, he often explained, that he learned what it was like to be cold and how hard it was to get a little sleep near an artillery installation.

Back in the States and free from Army life, Elvis completed his BBA at Lamar, and he and Lena spent a year in Fayetteville, Arkansas, where he earned an MBA and became a lifelong Razorbacks fan. With a VA loan and the offer of a teaching job from Lamar (he had turned down a chance to work for a big accounting firm in Houston), they bought a small house on Skipwith Street and had the first of their three children.   

Elvis taught for 35 years in the business school at Lamar. Anyone who took Principles of Accounting between 1955 and 1992 probably passed through his class, sometimes more than once, if they weren’t paying attention the first time. Like his mother, a warm but stern elementary school teacher, Elvis was tough but fair; he always said that college wasn’t particularly difficult if you just followed instructions. Sadly, many young people did not, and though he graded on the curve, he had little sympathy for undergraduate excuses or stories of woe.

In the 1960s, Elvis and Lena began attending Memorial United Methodist Church in Beaumont. Though he had grown up in the Methodist church, it wasn’t until he met Brother Ben Bering, a retired Elder still preaching at the little A-framed church off of 11th Street that he renewed his faith and became a serious student of the Bible. In the years following, Elvis spent several weeks each summer at the Perkins School of Theology in Dallas, earning the qualifications to become a lay minister. He did not particularly like being away from home (this was a constant of his personality), and he liked even less doing without his wife’s cooking, but his devotion to the ministry was serious and sustained. For the following thirty years and more he served as pastor in a number of roles and in a variety of places, both enriching and challenging. In recent years, long after his retirement from teaching, he continued as Pastor of Visitations for Wesley United Methodist Church, praying with hundreds of church members in local hospitals and conducting weddings and funerals on a weekly basis.  

Though teaching had been an important career for Elvis, it was in his work at the church that he always seemed happiest. Many will remember his quiet demeanor with its constant undercurrent of sly humor and warm friendliness. He liked to kid, but it was a loving and gentle teasing; as stern as he might have been in the classroom at times, he was a soft-hearted, essentially shy man with a fondness for college football and sugary desserts (particularly peanut brittle or pecan pie). All of his family: his wife, Lena; children, Liz, Katy, and Clark and their spouses; his grandchildren and great grandchildren, will miss him dearly.

Survivors include his wife, Lena Davis; daughters, Liz Cole of Fort Worth and Katy Crawford and her husband, Jay, of Richmond, California; son, Clark Davis and his wife, Hillary, of Denver, Colorado; grandsons, Troy Cole and his wife, Susan; Matt Cole, Sam Cole, Will Crawford, Grant Crawford, and Ethan Davis; great-grandchildren, Cannon Cole, Caden Cole, and Charleston Cole; and special caregivers, Dutchess Gay, Danesa Sweet, and Christine Debine.

A gathering of Reverend Davis’s family and friends will be from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m., Wednesday, April 5, 2017, at Broussard’s, 1605 North Major Drive, Beaumont. His funeral service will be at 11:00 a.m., Thursday, April 6, 2017, at Wesley United Methodist Church, 3810 North Major Drive, Beaumont. A private family graveside will be held at Hillcrest Cemetery, Orange.

Memorial contributions may be made to Wesley United Methodist Church, 3810 North Major Drive, Beaumont, Texas 77713.

Broussard's Mortuary - Major Drive
1605 N. Major Drive Beaumont, TX 77713
Gathering of family and friends
Broussard's Mortuary - Major Dr.
1605 N. Major Drive Beaumont, TX 77713
Wednesday, April 05, 2017
5:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Funeral Service
Broussard's Mortuary - Major Dr.
1605 N. Major Drive Beaumont, TX 77713
Thursday, April 06, 2017
11:00 a.m.
Hillcrest Cemetery
Zzz Temple, TX Zzz
memorial contributions
Wesley United Methodist Church Wesley United Methodist Church Mosaic Church
3810 North Major Drive Beaumont, TX 77713

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