Long time Stillwater resident Jerry Davis died peacefully on Sunday, December 8, 2019, due to complications from a long battle with prostate cancer.
To send flowers in memory of Jerry Leon Davis, please visit our Heartfelt Sympathies Store.
Please join family and friends of Jerry when we gather to celebrate his life at 2:00 p.m. Friday, December 13, at Highland Park United Methodist Church in Stillwater.
Jerry was born in rural Labette County Kansas, June 22, 1938, to Charles and Ethel (Blevins) Davis. He attended Labette County Community High School in Altamont. Davis then attended Pittsburg (KS) State University. While attending PSU, Davis was active in theatre and music activities. He was elected president of the class of 1960, was President of Blue Key Men’s Honor Society, and was selected by the PSU Faculty as the Outstanding Senior Man of 1960.
He Married Judy Chapman on August 14, 1960, in Anderson MO.
Following graduation, Jerry served in the U.S. Army Reserve, Medical Service Corps. After his time in the service, he began his teaching career at Argentine High School in Kansas City KS where he taught English, Speech and Drama and directed and designed the school plays. While teaching high school, he studied for, and received, his Master’s Degree from the University of Kansas.
In 1965, Jerry resigned his high school teaching position and returned to the University of Kansas to pursue a Ph.D. in Theatre, which was awarded in 1968. While in graduate school, he designed scenery and lighting for several university productions and received several awards as outstanding student designer.
Jerry was preceded in death by his parents, two brothers, Charles Warren (Buddy) and Wayne Lowell, and one sister Anita Coleen Friesen.
He is survived by his wife of 59 years; two sons, Kelly and his wife Lisa Egger, of Boulder, CO and Kyle and his wife Kate, of Oak Park, IL; two grandchildren, Kaelin and Karsten, of Oak Park, IL; one sister, Carol Berry, and her husband Bill; and several nieces and nephews.
A lifelong Methodist, Jerry was an active member of Highland Park United Methodist Church where he served on various committees, was a member of the choir and was Chair of the Board of Trustees during the time the church underwent several major capitol improvements in the early 2000s.
Upon completion of his Ph. D., Jerry taught at Illinois State University and the University of Kansas before accepting a position at Oklahoma State University. “Dr. D”, as he would be known, joined the OSU Theatre faculty as Assistant Professor in 1971 – just as the Seretean Center had its grand opening. He retired as Professor and Department Head in 1997. He taught courses in stagecraft, scene design, and lighting. During his tenure, he designed scenery and lighting for over 100 productions and supervised many student designs. He also designed for the Lyric Theatre and the Oklahoma Theatre Center in Oklahoma City. He served on the OSU Allied Arts Selection Committee and various College of Arts and Sciences committees.
In addition to his department responsibilities, Jerry was active in the American Theatre Association, the United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT), the Southwest Theatre Association (SWTA), the Oklahoma Speech Theatre and Communications Association (OSTCA), The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KC/ACTF), and the National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST). He served the SWTA as Convention Planning Chair, Secretary, Vice-President, and President. He was honored by election to the College of Fellows of SWTA. Twice he was selected by OSTCA as Oklahoma Outstanding College Theatre Teacher of the Year. For his service to KC/ACTF he was honored with the AMOCO Gold Medallion. He frequently presented workshops on stage lighting and model building to local and state community theatre groups and at KC/ACTF Regional Festivals.
Jerry loved to travel and had the privilege of traveling to all of the fifty United States and sixteen foreign countries on four continents. He was also a lifelong gardener and in his later years grew mostly flowering plants and enjoyed creating arrangements for his church and sharing with many friends.
Although Jerry loved flowers, he also hated to see them go to waste so, in lieu of flower tributes, the family requests contributions be made to either the Jerry and Judy Davis Endowed Fund c/o Oklahoma State University Foundation, 400 S. Monroe, Stillwater, OK 74074 or to Highland Park United Methodist Church, 524 N. Stallard, Stillwater, OK 74075.