Mr. Kenneth Gregory Davis
Mr. Kenneth Gregory Davis, passed away on Monday, October 3, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. Initial funeral services were held on Saturday, October 8, 2022 at 11:00 A.M. at Greenforest Community Baptist Church 3250 Rainbow Dr. Decatur, Georgia. Gregory B. Levett & Sons Funeral Home was in charge of services held in Decatur, Georgia. Final funeral services were held on Monday, October 10, 2022 at 11:00 A.M. at Oak Grove Baptist Church, Sandersville, Georgia. Interment was held in Woodlawn Cemetery. M.C Smith Funeral Home in charge of services held in Sandersville, Georgia.
On Monday, October 3, 2022, Kenneth Gregory Davis passed away peacefully after experiencing an extended illness. He was surrounded by his family at his home in Stone Mountain, Georgia.
He entered this life on July 30, 1955, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as the first of two children born to the late Julian Isaac Davis and Grace Latimore Davis. The family remained in Philadelphia for a few months until his father, Julian finished his coursework at Temple University, at which time the returned home to Sandersville, Georgia. At an early age, he joined Oak Grove Baptist Church. Until the age of five, Kenneth spent a fair amount of time in Fort Valley, Georgia where his mother, Grace, completed her coursework at Fort Valley State College.
Kenneth received his early education at T.J. Elder Elementary, attended T.J. Elder High, and graduated from Washington County High School in 1973. During his high school years, Kenneth was an active participant in the Civil Rights Movement locally in Sandersville. Influenced by his father, Julian, a leader in the Black community, Kenneth continued to exhibit a strong passion for standing up for his beliefs throughout his lifetime. He was an avid reader, particularly of Black history, always striving to learn more about the individuals and events that shaped our lives. As a native son of Sandersville, Kenneth maintained lifelong connections to the community back home through memberships in the Washington County Elderite Association, Inc. and the AMVETS Sandersville, GA Post #110.
Kenneth earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Journalism from the University of Georgia in 1977. As he contemplated future career opportunities, he enrolled at the UGA Law School in 1984. He would later study at the FEMA Emergency Management Institute/National Emergency Training Center in Emmitsburg, Maryland.
Having begun his career as the first Black broadcaster at WSNT Radio in Sandersville during high school, Kenneth continued in his field at radio stations in Athens, Georgia and Macon, Georgia. In 1979, desiring to continue the commitment to serve his country as his father and grandfather had done, Kenneth joined the Coast Guard and served until 1985. It was during that time that he began his career in emergency public information as a member of the United States Coast Guard’s Public Information Assistance team in Washington, D.C., responding to oil and hazardous materials incidents world wide.
Following his honorable discharge from the Coast Guard and after pursuing a couple of different employment opportunities, Kenneth continued his career in public information joining the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) as a Senior Public Relations & Information Specialist in 1989. He faithfully served the people of Georgia, becoming Public Affairs Director, coordinating and reporting on various emergencies throughout the state. He retired in 2015.
As fate would have it, Kenneth began to date his future wife, a young lady form his hometown of Sandersville, while stationed at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington. The former Janice Chapelle Dabney, a dear friend of his sister Darlene, was attending training classes for her job with the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. The two connected, and on August 4, 1984, Kenneth married the love of his life at Springfield Baptist Church in Sandersville. Their union was blessed with four sons-Julian, Jonathan, Jason, and Jordan. Kenneth and Chapelle raised their sons in Stone Mountain, Georgia, with Kenneth coaching and Chapelle cheering on their sons during baseball, basketball and football games both in their church league and at Wade Walker Park. Kenneth felt strongly that it was important to support their sons in all of their endeavors so that, in his words, “they would enjoy being at home.” Throughout their childhood and into his sons’ adult lives, Kenneth steadfastly supported them, helping them to fulfill the primary goal that he and Chapelle had for them - to become God-fearing, law abiding, contributing members of society. To this end, both Kenneth and Chapelle actively participated in school activities, serving in a variety of roles. Each of their sons went on to attend Morehouse College in Atlanta. They also exposed their sons and grandchildren to travel experiences highlighted with both fun and learning activities. Some of their memorable excursions involved a cross-country road trip along Route 66, travel to Jamaica, the Bahamas as well as Hawaii. Kenneth ensured that his sons would appreciate that they were part of something bigger than themselves as they crisscrossed the United States to participate in many Davis-Hodges family reunions, from Georgia to Florida to Philadelphia to New York to Texas to D.C. to Virginia to California and back again. Kenneth truly loved his family and contributed a significant amount of time to researching the family history. He was the unofficial family historian. Some of his and Chapelle’s first dates were spent at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. researching family history.
Kenneth and Chapelle led their family to join Greenforest Community Baptist Church in Decatur, Georgia in 1995 under the pastorate of Rev. George O. McCalep, Jr., Ph.D. He was a devoted member, participating in Fulfillment Hour (Sunday School) and Wednesday night bible study. He served faithfully as a trustee for several years until his death.
In addition to his passion for his family, Kenneth was an avid blues and gospel music enthusiast. He spent time collecting memorabilia and attending blues festivals and museums. During the later part of his life and in retirement, Kenneth was particularly enamored with B.B. King and had the privilege of attending the blues legend’s funeral in Indianola, Mississippi with his lifelong friend Ernest Barkster.
Kenneth was preceded in death by his son: Mr. Gregory Bernard Davis, Sr. in 1995. He was proud that Gregory joined the U.S. Navy, following in his footsteps of serving the nation on vessels and waterways throughout the world.
Kenneth is survived by his devoted wife of thirty-eight (38) years, Chapelle Dabney Davis, Stone Mountain, Georgia; four sons: Julian (Ashlee) Davis, Atlanta, Georgia, Jonathan ( (Janée) Davis, Syracuse, New York, Jason Davis, Jordan Davis, Stone Mountain, Georgia; one sister: Darlene (Wayne) Mitchell, Stone Mountain, Georgia; four grandchildren: Gregory Davis, Jr., Tennille, Georgia, Kenya Davis, Sandersville, Georgia, Kanaan Davis, Yara Davis, Atlanta, Georgia; two great grandchildren: Noah Davis, Zion Davis, Atlanta, Georgia; one aunt: Mrs. Evelyn Robinson, Attalla, Alabama; three uncles: Mr. Chapman J. “CJ” Davis, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Mr. Crawford W. “CW” (Sallie) Johnson, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Mr. Wilbert Maynor, Sylvania, Georgia; three nephews: Victor Walker, Sr., Sandersville, Georgia, Steven Braddy, Augusta, Georgia, Keith (Tamika) Walker, Wrens, Georgia; two nieces: Monica Hurst, Tennille, Georgia, Jasmine Mitchell, Atlanta, Georgia; a host of other relatives and friends.