James Leonidas ‘Jim’ Davis, 100, modeled a life of service and generosity

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James Leonidas 'Jim' Davis
James Leonidas ‘Jim’ Davis

WILMINGTON — It has been said, “You make a living by what you get; you make a life by what you give.” Jim Davis is one of those generous souls who had marked his life by giving to others.

Jim grew up in Wilmington, N.C., and attended Duke University and Northwestern University. He married Jean McArthur in 1946 and took up residence in Jean’s hometown of Miami, where they made a happy life together until Jean’s passing in 1995.

He occupied himself with dairy farming, along with investing in real estate. He also served with what is now known as Easter Seals, the Historical Society of Dade County, the Rotary and Kiwanis clubs, and was on the First Union Bank Board.

As a member of Miami Shores Presbyterian Church, he served as deacon, elder and Sunday school superintendent. He served actively on several boards: the YMCA (past chairman), the Salvation Army (past chairman) and the Orange Bowl Committee. For several years, he was a part owner of the Miami Dolphins, including during their 1972 undefeated Super Bowl championship season.

He actively supported several mission organizations, including The Outreach Foundation and the Haggai Institute, for which he sponsored many leadership training sessions in Maui. He modeled a life of service for his four children, James McArthur Davis (deceased in 1978), Rhodes Davis, Nancy Jean Davis and Linda Davis Laskin, five grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

He was a model of generosity when he helped the Reformed Theological Seminary with a new building in Orlando. Jim went to be with the Lord in his hundredth year at his own home in Miami.

In addition to his children, grandchildren, and great-granddaughter, he is survived by his brother, Claude; sister, Louise; and many nieces and nephews.

At the dedication of his building at the Reformed Theological Seminary, he chose as a prayer the following words, which he actively modeled through his own life: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20.

A calling was held Sunday, Feb. 5, at the Gregg L. Mason Funeral Home, 10936 Northeast 6th Ave., Miami, Fla. His funeral service took place Monday, Feb. 6, at the McArthur Memorial Chapel of Miami Shores Presbyterian Church, 602 Northeast 96th St., Miami, Fla. 

Graveside services, followed by burial, will be held at 11 a.m., Saturday, March 11, in Oakdale Cemetery, 520 N. 15th St., Wilmington.