Theodore Elmer (Ted) Davis, 96, a beloved husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and friend to everyone, died on March 5, 2020 in Lawrence, Kansas.
Graveside Funeral Services will be held at 2:00 P.M., Thursday, March 12, 2020 at the Prairie Lawn Cemetery in Wellington. Visitation will be Thursday, March 12 from 10:00 A.M. until 12:00 with the family present to receive friends at the Shelley Family Funeral Home 704 N. Washington, Wellington. Memorials have been established with the Wellington Senior Center and the Sumner Community Hospital and may be left with Shelley Family Funeral Home. To leave an online condolence please visit www.shelleyfamilyfh.com.
Ted was born on May 27, 1923, in El Dorado, Kansas to Fred and Odessa (Shepherd) Davis. He married Irene (Yates) Davis in 1942. In 1947, Ted and Irene welcomed their daughter Margaret. Ted and Irene were married for more than 50 years before she preceded him in death in 1993. In 1995, Ted married Helen (Yates) Davis and they remained married until she preceded him in death in May 2014.
Ted moved to Wellington, Kansas in 1936 and graduated from Wellington High School in 1941. Shortly after graduation, he attended trade school in Wichita, Kansas, and began a job as a metal fabricator for Clarkson and Startz Parts Company. He earned his private pilot’s license at age 19. Shortly thereafter, he formed a Civil Air Patrol unit in Wellington and served as a Master Sergeant.
In the spring of 1944, during World War II. Ted joined the United States Navy. He was involved in five major engagements in the South Pacific as a Seaman First Class, aboard the aircraft carrier the U.S.S. Marcus Island (CVE 77). Ted’s responsibilities included complete aircraft maintenance, refueling, and weapons service and reloading. He earned several awards for his service, including the World War II Victory Medal, the American Campaign Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (4 stars), the Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon, and the Philippine Liberation Campaign Ribbon (2 stars). In 2014, he and other World War II veterans participated in an honor flight to Washington, D.C. to view the World War II memorial.
After his honorable discharge from the Navy in January of 1946, he returned to Wellington and began a long business and civic-minded career. He founded several ventures including producing home products like awnings and incinerators to camper tops for outdoor recreation, and subcontracting for the booming aircraft industry. He and other like-minded individuals were instrumental in forming several well-known companies such as Midwest Inc., Welco, Sportsman Coach, Lamar Inc., and others. Throughout his business carrier, Ted was always quick to give credit to his partners and co-workers for any successes, and he truly believed they formed the backbone of the community.
Ted always had a staunch commitment to civic service in the Wellington community. He was active with the Wellington Economic Development Council, the Wellington Chamber of Commerce, the Wellington Board of Education, the American Legion, the Four Winds Girl Scout Council, and the Wellington Elks Lodge. He was a director of the Great Plains Diabetes charity and the Diabetes Foundation of Kansas. He also served as director and chairman of the Security State Bank. In 1995, the Wellington Chamber of Commerce honored him with the Distinguished Service Award. Throughout his life, Ted regularly participated in numerous other charitable activities to support Wellington. Ted was also a long-time member of the Church of Christ.
His many hobbies included flying, golf, fishing, snow skiing, classic cars, all things Kansas Jayhawks, and spending time with his grandchildren.
He is survived by his devoted daughter Margaret, his grandchildren, his great grandchildren, and many other relatives.
He was preceded in death by his parents and his siblings Pauline (Davis) Hilt, Floyd Davis, and Delores (Davis) Sturgeon.
Ted “never met a stranger.” He lived a full life and will be dearly missed.
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Wellington Senior Center
308 S. Washington, Wellington KS 67152
Sumner Community Hospital
1323 N A, Wellington KS 67152