John Carr Davis, 88, respected sheriff of Brunswick County

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John Carr Davis
John Carr Davis

John Carr Davis, 88, died Monday, June 27, 2016.

He was a highly respected sheriff of Brunswick County, having served 12 years as sheriff after nine years as a deputy. He won every election with widespread bipartisan support each time he ran. He was known for great personal integrity, honesty and fair play. He kept politics out of the running of the department. He became sheriff at a time of extreme difficulty for the department with the resignation of his successor due to scandal and wrong-doing.

His integrity and the trust the employees of the department and citizens of the county had in John Carr Davis enabled him to restore and improve the department’s reputation. That good reputation lasts to this day. He served with distinction on the North Carolina Sheriff’s Training and Standards Commission, to provide guidance and the sense of fairness to law enforcement personnel across the state. In 2012, the Brunswick County Commissioners renamed the sheriff’s office building the John C. Davis Law Enforcement Center.

He was preceded in death by his loving wife of 44 years, Dorothy Ward Brittain Davis; and a daughter, Jane Brittain Summer; parents, William Sellers Davis and Eula Carr Davis; and sister, Augusta Davis Moore. His first wife, Mary Elizabeth Lupton Davis, died of leukemia after three years of marriage.

He is survived by a son, David Brittain, and his wife, Marie; daughter, Linda Brittain Chadwick, and her husband, Chad; as well as grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nephews and a niece.

John Carr Davis was born in Southport on June 27, 1928. He was educated at Southport High School and Morgan City, Louisiana, where he graduated. He served in the U.S. Navy during the latter part of World War II and the U.S. Navy and another two on a sub chaser with the outbreak of the Korean War. He captained shrimp boats and later menhaden boats, the South Beach and the Cape Fear owned by Brunswick Navigation and Standard Products in Southport, Morehead and in the Chesapeake. For a time, he worked for the Wilmington Cape Fear Pilots’ Association as manager at Harrelson’s IGA and then for the North Carolina Ferry Division. He taught marine science at the local high school.

At the time of his passing, John Carr Davis was the longest living member of St. Philip’s Episcopal Church. He was generous in time, talent and treasure, having served on the vestry and as junior warden and senior warden. As long as he was able, he would be found on one of the front seats every Sunday. He also had great respect and admiration for Antioch Baptist Church, where his wife Dorothy was laid to rest. He was a member of the Southport Lions’ Club. John Carr was known as a kind man with a wonderful sense of humor and an outgoing personality.

This quote from Sheriff John Ingram V. says it best, “The legacy of Sheriff John Carr Davis lives on in the people who knew him and those of us fortunate to have served with him. Sheriff Davis had a tough, no nonsense approach to leading, with a compassionate, fair and honest heart. We strive daily to lead through his example in hopes that those who follow us will continue that legacy. The badge and legacy of Sheriff John Carr Davis will forever remain bright and untarnished.”

A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, June 30, at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church, Southport. Friends are cordially invited to a visitation with the family at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church Parrish Hall in Southport one hour before service and other times at the residence. The sheriff’s office honor guard will be present at both times. Interment will be in the Ward Section of Antioch Baptist Church Cemetery following the service.

In lieu of customary remembrances, the family requests, with gratitude, that memorial contributions in John’s name be directed to St. Philip’s Episcopal Church, 206 E. Moore St., Southport, NC 28461; or SECU Hospice House of Brunswick, 955 Mercy Lane, Bolivia, NC 28422.

The family would like to thank the staff of the SECU Hospice House of Brunswick and the OPSU Department of New Hanover Regional Medical Center for the excellent care given to John Carr during his illness.

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