Sunday, February 15, 2009

A Tribute to My Father

My father, Richard F. Davis, 82, passed away peacefully on February 13, 2009.

The following appeared as his obituary.

Born in Newfield and a lifelong resident, Richard Davis served the community for many decades, beginning in the 1950s. Last year Richard and his wife, Betty Jane, were honored by the Newfield Borough Council with a Proclamation recognizing their service to the community.

Richard was on the Borough Council, served 13 years as Board of Education Secretary, and was a Founding Father of the Newfield Swim Club. He was a member of the Newfield Fire Company: he served many years as a Director and was currently its Secretary. He has served on the Board of Trustees for the Newfield United Methodist Church since 1952. He was currently Treasurer of Rose Hill Cemetery and a Director of the Avalon Fishing Club; both responsibilities he took on from his father. He was a Director of the Newfield Saving and Loan.

Richard owned Dyer & Davis Squab Farm on Church Street in Newfield from the 1950s into the 1970s. He was a proud graduate of Edgarton Memorial School and an alum of Vineland High School.

Richard is survived by his wife of 62 years, Betty Jane; two daughters, Arlene Schulgen and Margaret Davis; two brothers, Edwin Davis and Herman Davis; and six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. He touched many lives and will be missed by all.

The following is more personal and appears on the back of the funeral service bulletin.

A life filled with love...

Richard F. (Dick) Davis,
passed on to be with his heavenly father. Dick was born October 11, 1926 in the family home on Church Street and grew up there as a typical boy with his sister Rae and 2 brothers, Edwin and Herman. His paternal grandparents lived next door on the corner of Church and Helena and Dick got his love of seeing movies and traveling from trips with them. His father, Harry, co-owned the world's largest pigeon farm, Dyer and Davis, with farms in Newfield and Elsmere, Delaware. Dick was a bright boy, so that while attending Edgarton Memorial School, he skipped several grades, allowing him to graduate from Vineland High School in 1943 at age 16. That same year at a party on Rosemont Avenue, he met Betty Jane, who lived on the Malaga Camp Ground. Three years later they were married and had two daughters, Margaret and Arlene. Early in the fifties, they moved into the house that had been his paternal grandparents, purchasing it from his sister Rae who was moving to California with her husband and daughter June. Dick continued to work at Dyer and Davis and in the 1950's took on the responsibilities of Newfield Methodist Church trustee and Newfield Town Councilman. He also was a volunteer fireman from the 1950's. When polio was rampant closing the local lakes to summer activities, he worked with his friends to establish the Newfield Swim Club and served as a director for many years, since he lived practically next door. When his father and Mr Dyer wanted to retire, Dick took over the squab farm, reducing its size so he could almost handle it himself. When Mr. Dyer died, Dick and Betty Jane bought Mr. Dyer's sizeable home and operated White Dove Farm with Bruce and Betty Candler as a catering and restaurant there, where Kiwanis met every Thursday. The squab farm business declined severely in the 1960's and Dick worked part time and then full time for Berlin Plumbing. When his father died, Dick took inherited responsibilities for Newfield Savings and Loan, the Avalon Fishing Club, and Rose Hill Cemetary. His daughters grew up and had children and his life was full of love for grandchildren. Along the way, he helped get the Newfield Fire Company's chicken BBQ established, working many years as pit leader, as it was just an extension of his responsibility as the Fire Company Secretary. Eventually his grandchildren grew up and blessed him with great-grandchildren, which were the delight of his days, two of the great grandsons having birthdays he celebrated with them in the week before the stroke that took him from us. Typical of the man he was, he had many more people consider him their "additional" Dad, Grandfather, and Great-Grandfather because his heart was so filled with love and caring.

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