Jeff Borden Davis, 92, of Durango, Colorado died on April 16, 2020 at the Mercy Hospice House. Born August 5, 1927 in Emporia, Kansas to parents Lee C. Davis and Lena Moore Davis, he was preceded in death by his parents, half -brothers Delmont and Clark, brother Gayle Davis and sister Shirley Davis Coleman. He is survived by niece Sherri Coleman Hanna and her spouse Gary of Edgerton, Kansas, their children and grandchildren, and nephew Robyn Coleman of Kansas City, Missouri, and child. No services are scheduled at this time; a celebration of life will be held at a later date.
After graduation from Gardner Kansas High School in 1945, Jeff enlisted in the Navy V-5 pre-flight program and was honorably discharged from the Navy in 1946. He began studies at Kansas University, then transferred to Denver University, where he completed his BA in Mass Communications in 1950. Jeff left Colorado to work as a copywriter for KFBC in Wyoming for a short period, before being drafted into the Korean Conflict era Army. After serving two years with the National Security Agency in Washington D.C., he was discharged with the rank of Sergeant. Resuming his work as a copywriter, he spent time first at stations in Nebraska and Oklahoma, then settled in Grand Rapids, Michigan working for WOOD, (Time-Life Broadcast) where he became Public Affairs Director and Documentary Director. During his ten years with WOOD, the station received numerous awards, including an Emmy for an expose of Kalamazoo State Hospital deficiencies. Jeff left WOOD in 1966 to form an advertising and public relations firm, where he first met and worked with client Gerald Ford during his congressional campaigns and formed a deep and lasting friendship with President Ford and his wife Betty. In 1978, Jeff sold his stake in the agency and began his work with the Universal Companies, first in the restaurant division as marketing director, then later as administrative assistant to the chairman, and as corporate communications director. Jeff moved to the firm's major subsidiary, Universal Forest Products (U.S.'s fourth-largest building materials supplier), as their market and communications manager, retiring after 16 years with the company.
Returning to Colorado in 1995, Jeff made his retirement home in Durango. Retired in name only, he brought his many talents and skills to a variety of organizations. His interest in the arts and music was spread among many Durango institutions. Active in the First Presbyterian Church, he lent his strong singing voice to the choir and was a valued and enthusiastic member of the Durango Barbershoppers. Jeff sat on the board of the (former) Community Concerts Association and of the San Juan Symphony. As a long-time volunteer with the Durango Arts Society, he was a principal in the Summer Street Arts Festival. He could also be found volunteering with the Fort Lewis College Center for Southwest Studies museum and the Animas City Museum. Jeff served on the boards of the San Juan Basin Archeological Society and the Four Corners Rose Society, pursuing his study of the history and culture of the area and raising prize-winning roses. Jeff also supported the Animas Valley Grange both as a board member and could be found in the kitchen utilizing his chef skills at every event. An avid traveler (England and Italy were his favorite countries) Jeff often went off the beaten path, Ethiopia and Nigeria, Yemen, India, and Fiji to name a few, collecting masks as he went. Skiing, hiking, and jeeping were part of his favored Colorado lifestyle, until a (successful) surgery to remove a brain tumor curtailed his more strenuous activities. After recovery, Jeff continued to pursue his hobbies of photography, gardening, and bird-watching and whipping up his famous pies with the fruit picked from his yard. And he continued to follow and believe in his beloved Kansas City Chiefs.
Loved by many, Jeff B. Davis will be remembered by his family, friends, and neighbors as a man of strong faith and conviction, with the determination to meet life on his terms and as a civic-minded example worth emulating. We are sad to mark his passing, but as Jeff, himself would say "No whining!".