Lawrence "Larry" L. Davis
January 12, 1923 – October 7, 2019
Lawrence Leroy Davis died in Bloomington, October 7, 2019. He was born in Lafayette, Indiana, on January 12, 1923, to John and Nellie Davis, in a family of five other siblings. His father died when he was 10, and the whole family was taken in by their relation, the McCulloughs. He left home to serve in the US Army where he was stationed in England and France. He earned two degrees in the Business School here at IU (B.S. in 1948 & MBA 1950), after which he became manager of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. In 1956, he was hired for the position of manager of the IU Auditorium, from which he retired in 1987. During this time, the Auditorium presented some of the world’s greatest artists in music, theater, and dance, as well as annual visits by the Metropolitan Opera.
He immersed his life and mind in classical music. It is striking how the business major was truly such an avid connoisseur of the arts. Music had been a lifelong passion. He had studied piano and enjoyed as a youth playing four-hand arrangements. Music was his passion; business informed his demeanor. In him, the marriage was perfect.
A similar contrast regarding words: Though he possessed a rich awareness of art, and he lived an eventful life, he spoke little when he could have said much. He never demanded the spotlight, never trumpeted his experience or knowledge, and never tried to come out first in a discussion. He was never heard talking bad of anyone. He once remarked that if angry, he knew of no cusswords to employ. In any case, he was so devoted to his passion (music) and his craft (administration) that words were superfluous.
Unwordy people, being unpretentious, nevertheless often render great truths laconically. He once was asked him what his life was like, and he answered, “pleasant…..easy.” In 2 words he gave expressed the tenor of his life. How many people can attest to such a life in this world? Larry had always been current of events. Told that he could have a year, six months, or a week of life, he replied, “I’ve had a wonderful life, I’m ready to go.” How many people could say this? The greatest accomplishment is not what you have accomplished, but rather to die without the taste of bitterness in your heart.
In freedom from adversity and vexation, Larry was blessed by the gods. Imagine: in the thick of war and just miles from the Battle of the Bulge, yet he was stationed as a general’s adjutant in an old French castle, near yet far from battle’s mayhem! He enjoyed wonderful health up the last three months of his life; he loved his job; to eternal sleep he went in sleep: How lucky can you get? Some are chosen by life to sail on wings of song, and others to rot in putrid misery. His fate was to be the calm steady ship that he was, to bask in the beauty and nobility of great art.
Without fanfare or fuss, he displayed enormous generosity. He was a Kiwanian for 55 years. He also served on the boards of the Friends of Music, Bloomington Area Arts Council, Theatre Circle, National Society of Arts and Letters and others. Every day for 10 years, at age 4 he would take the dinner order for Marina Svetlova, the renowned ballerina and his apartment neighbor at Bell Trace, and at 6 deliver it. He constantly looked for opportunities to be helpful to others. He was pure of heart.
Character, not happiness, is the end of life. Few are given great deeds to wield, but every one of us must ply character, which in any case is the motor of those deeds. As it turned out, Lawrence had both. Let there be no mourning for this man. He lived well, and now is gone. Let us be him.
He is survived by a brother Charles and companion, Ruth, in Michigan, Max McCullough and spouse Bev. his nephew of West Lafayette, and numerous nephews and nieces.
There will be a “Celebration of Life” event at 2:00 p.m., Saturday, November 9, 2019 at Bell Trace Commons in Bell Trace Senior Living Facility, 800 N. Bell Trace Circle, in Bloomington, IN 47408.
Any donations should be made to the I.U. Friends of Music; I.U. Friends of Art; I.U. Theatre Circle; or Indiana University Auditorium c/o Indiana University Foundation, Bloomington, Indiana 47408
Online condolences may be made to the family at www.DayDeremiahFrye.com
Celebration of Life
Bell Trace Senior Living Facility
Bell Trace Commons
800 North Bell Trace Circle