Creswell Dean Davis
September 12, 1932 – July 8, 2020
C. Dean Davis, devoted and beloved husband, father, and grandfather, and a leading figure in Texas healthcare law, passed away peacefully on July 8, 2020 after a long-running battle with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. He was 87.
Dean enjoyed a storied legal career of over 50 years during which he represented leading healthcare and insurance organizations and structured medical-related legislation. He was long-time counsel to the Texas Hospital Association, Texas Pharmaceutical Association, Texas Association of Hospital Trustees, Texas Hospital Insurance Exchange, Texas Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, and Texas Association of Life Underwriters, as well as for-profit and not-for-profit hospital organizations, individual hospitals, and independent pharmacies throughout the State of Texas.
Valued by his clients on corporate matters and for his command of administrative law, Dean was also well known as a skilled litigator. He represented clients in virtually every district court across the State of Texas, each of the fourteen state courts of appeal, the Texas Supreme Court, and the Fifth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals. Four of his cases were taken to the U.S. Supreme Court. In addition, Dean represented clients before the Texas legislature and was instrumental in structuring and shepherding leading pieces of healthcare legislation, including the original implementation of Medicare in the State of Texas.
Born in Abilene, Texas, Dean spent his formative years in Denton, where he attended North Texas State College (now the University of North Texas). During his college career, Dean excelled as a member of the debate team; he and his partner were the 1953 national college debate champions. He graduated with honors that same year.
Dean entered the University of Texas School of Law in 1953, served in the U.S. Army during 1954-1955, and then returned to complete his law degree. It was upon returning to law school that he met the love of his life, Mollie Villeret, a U.T. undergraduate. They were married in 1959 and remained so for over 60 years until her passing in March.
Upon graduating from U.T. Law in 1958, and until 1961, Dean was an Assistant Attorney General of Texas, serving under Attorney General Will Wilson. He went into private practice in 1961 with an Austin-based firm and then left to establish his own practice in 1963, eventually forming the firm Davis & Davis, which later became Davis Fuller Jackson Keene.
Dean had a long history of service to his alma mater. In 1967, he was appointed to the university’s Board of Regents and was the youngest person to have served in that capacity. After his initial service, he was again appointed to the Board in 1983. He served as chairman of both the UNT Board of Regents and the UNT Health Science Center Board of Regents. In the 1970’s, he helped in the formation of the UNT Foundation and served as its first secretary-treasurer. In 1990, he was awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award, the highest honor given by the university. In 2013, he accepted the Generations of Excellence Award for the C. Dean Davis Family; almost 40 members of his extended family attended UNT over a period beginning in 1910.
Dean is predeceased by his wife, Mollie Davis, and is survived by his two sons and their families -- A. Dean Davis and his wife Laura, of New Canaan, Connecticut, and their daughters Kristin Davis and Drew Davis; and Kevin Davis and his wife Stacy, of Austin, and their sons Todd Davis and Brooks Davis -- and sister Ellen Taylor and her husband Jim, of Richardson, Texas.
Due to the current pandemic, a memorial service will be scheduled for some undetermined time in the future. When scheduled, the service will take place at The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd located at 3201 Windsor Road in Austin. Interment will take place in a private service.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd or a charity of one’s choice.
Saturday, September 18, 2021
Creswell Dean Davis
September 12, 2021
Happy Birthday in heaven. Sure miss you
September 12, 2021
Dean was a fine lawyer and many young lawyers are indebted to him for helping start their careers. He was a gifted speaker and gave one of the strongest oral arguments I ever had the privilege of hearing. He was smart and tough and worked hard for his clients. He was also gracious with his time and gave unselfishly to many Austin endeavors along with his beloved University of North Texas. Mollie was a true lady, always kind and warm. May they Rest In Peace.
Susan (Susie) Bartlemay
September 6, 2021
Dean and Mollie were a beautiful and gracious couple. I first met Dean when I began serving in leadership positions at Texas Pharmacy Association. He helped me through two difficult sessions as I served as Speaker of the House of Delegates. This was during the first major changes to the Texas State Board of Pharmacy during their first Sunset. He was a mentor and friend as was Mollie after the first time I met her. Dean was also helpful to me in a personal issue and I always felt indebted to him. Once he met you, he always remembered you and was always there for you. He was one of a kind who will be remembered by pharmacists forever. God received two Angels last year as we lost both Dean and Mollie. Prayers fir the family.
July 8, 2021
It is hard to believe that it has been a year since Dean passed and still harder yet to accept that it happened. To me he was invincible and larger than life. I cannot count the number of times his memory has found me in this year. So many memories to relive.
Dean and Mollie have been long time family friends of my parents as well as my wife and me. As a member of the the THA staff I had the distinct honor and privilege to work with Dean for two legislative sessions and a Constitutional convention. His work was nothing short of masterful. We worked hard, and laughed harder. Dean could tell stories. Oh could he tell stories. And what a laugh. I can almost here it now.
He was a friend and mentor and helped guide my subsequent health law career. He was always available for sage advice, which I continue to treasure, as I do my relationship with Dean. I am comforted by the fact that he and Mollie are together again. My continued sympathies to Dean, Kevin and your families.
July 8, 2021
Remembering you today, Dean. Your name came up, fondly, in a conversation with a former client, and we had a big laugh talking over some "war stories." You are remembered, old friend. Rest in Peace.
July 30, 2020
I first met Dean Davis in the late 1960s when I was working at the Texas Pharmacy Association and he was serving as our general counsel. During those days, Dean was a great mentor to me, and I learned so much from him about the "ins and outs" of Texas government. When I became the Executive Director of the Texas State Board of Pharmacy, I had the pleasure of once again working with him since he was the attorney for the Board. Dean continued to serve as a mentor, and I relied heavily on his personal and professional advice.
While I was at the Board, I took some action and immediately had second thoughts about what I had done. So I picked up the phone, called Dean, and said, "I think I may have screwed up!" I explained what I meant by that comment and then asked, "If my action is reported in the Austin American Statesman, could you defend what I did?" There was a very long pause and then Dean replied, "Yes, what you did is defensible and legal." Was I ever relieved!
Dean was not your typical attorney because he would focus on what you could do--not what you couldn't do. Even though he eventually stepped away from serving as TSBP's legal counsel, our friendship and respect for one another continued for decades. He was one of a kind--an individual who demonstrated honesty, acted with dignity, and conveyed consideration to all whom he encountered. I truly will miss him.
Senator Leticia Van de Putte
July 25, 2020
Dear Davis Family, please accept my deepest sympathy of the passing of a great mentor to many. As a young pharmacist in the 1980’s , Dean was always accessible and kind and treated each of us with such respect. No question was too uninformed and he took precious time to explain both the obvious and complex situations he managed.
As a legislator I depended on Dean for advice at critical times. Mind you I knew he didn’t suffer fools , but he was always gracious even when others did not deserve it. I remember one particular occasion when a very irritating person come up to Dean as I stood by. The man said “ I don’t believe we’ve met .” Dean looked him straight in the the eyes, broadly smiled and said “ Sir, you are correct, we haven’t.” Then Dean just walked off! I learned so much from Dean that served me well in the 25 years of service in the Legislature. Be kind and gracious, don’t burn bridges, and only administer selective enforcement when it is absolutely needed for the greater good and never personal gain . I know I’m only one of the many who benefited from his wisdom.
Dean left a big mark on my profession of pharmacy and and even bigger one on the Texas Capitol.
With immense gratitude for the life of Dean Davis,
Leticia Van de Putte,
Senator, San Antonio, Texas
July 22, 2020
He contributed to the growth of an educated BAR Association by being part of their many projects both when he was an Ass’t Attorney General and later in the general practice of law.
July 21, 2020
Dean was my first boss as a lawyer and he was a fantastic mentor and teacher. His influence stayed with me in the years after I left Davis & Davis and I truly appreciate what he taught me about the art and practice of law. Mr. D., thank you for everything. I hope you and Mollie are dancing together along the streets of gold.
July 19, 2020
SONS AND FAMILIES OF DEAN & MOLLIE DAVIS., DEAN WAS A DEAR FRIEND AND SIGMA PHI EPSILON BROTHER SINCE 1952. NO ONE WAS MORE LOYAL TO BOTH THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH TEXAS AND HIS FRATERNITY THAN WAS DEAN ! HIS FRATERNITY BROTHERS WERE ALWAYS SO PROUD OF HIS PROFESSIONAL AND CAREER ACCOMPLISHMENTS. HE AND I REMAINED FRIENDS AND IN TOUCH OVER THESE 65 YEARS . SO SORRY TO LEARN OF THE LOSS ALSO OF YOUR MOM. THEIR FAITH CLEARLY BRINGS THEM TOGETHER AGAIN. YOUR FAMILY HAS A GREAT LEGACY TO LIVE OUT IN THEIR NAMES. MAY THE LORD BLESS AND KEEP YOU!
July 19, 2020
We are sorry for your loss. Our connection was through TPA the entire time Dean represented the organization. In addition, he was a great friend and we enjoyed the company of your parents on many occasions.
You are in our thoughts and prayers
Tim and Sally Vordenbaumen
Gordon and Kay McNutt
July 19, 2020
Dean Davis was a fine man. Sending thoughts and prayers to his family.
July 15, 2020
Dean, I will miss you every day. You were the only boss I ever had--but well more than that. You were the example many sought to reflect--in the practice of law, in the dignity of hard work, in the perserverance to overcome, and in the courage to meet a challenge head on. You were, in a word, my mentor. But, most valuable of all, you were my dear, dear friend. I love you and will always cherish our time together. Until we meet again. Rest in Peace you ol' Lion
July 15, 2020
I will miss you so much....you had such a dramatic impact on my life. RIP my friend.