Deacon Eli Davis
October 12, 1929 – August 7, 2018
Eli Davis, a native Texan (born October 12, 1929 – died August 7, 2018 at age 88) was the second son to Mrs. Olearia (Jackson) and Mr. John Edward Davis in Terrell, Texas. John preceded Olearia in death. However, from this union, Eli was blessed to have Edward Lee Davis, affectionately call “Lee”, born as his oldest brother. Eli’s mother later married James Calvin Gardner who also preceded Olearia in death; and to this union, Eli was blessed with four younger brothers, James, John, Paul, and Freddie. Eli’s mother Olearia, and three of his brothers Lee, Paul, and John preceded Eli in death. All of Eli’s early childhood education was completed at the Dallas B. F. Darrell Elementary School that was at Cochran and Hall Streets. He attended Dallas Booker T. Washington High School for two and one-half years and in 1947, Eli graduated from Ft. Worth I. M. Terrell High School. After spending a year at Prairie View A&M, Eli transferred to Mary Allen College where he received his Bachelor of Science Degree in 1952. He later returned to Prairie View A&M University, and in 1967, earned the Master of Education Degree with emphasis on Administration and Supervision. On June 8, 1952, Eli married his college sweetheart, Earlie Mae Rhodes of Fort Worth, Texas. To this union God blessed them with two sons and two daughters. In 1958, Eli and Earlie were also blessed to raise Earlie’s 4 year-old niece, who’s lovingly referred to as their daughter.
Eli accepted Christ at an early age and was baptized by Pastor Lofton of the New Zion Baptist Church in Dallas, TX, which later became the Greater New Zion Baptist Church in 1953 when the church moved from North Dallas to its present location. Here Eli served under the late Pastor A. V. Voice, followed by his current Pastor Joe. S. Patterson. Over 75 years, Eli remained faithful to his God his local church family, and extended Christian Fellowships. As his health begin to decline, he would still try to press his way to church so he could worship and serve the Lord whenever he could. The last time he worshiped with the Greater New Zion Family was on July 22, 2018, one day before he entered the hospital for the last time and took his final rest.His greatest ministry was his home ministry. He was the kind of father that brought his children to church, not just dropped them off. He encouraged them to learn bible verses. At the dining table, after the blessing of the food, each child had to memorize and say a bible verse before they ate. He and Earlie took the children to Sunday School, Morning Worship, 3 o’clock service, Baptist Training Union (BTU) Evening Worship, and choir rehearsals and usher meetings. They taught their children how to serve.
Eli Davis was an U. S. Army Veteran. On September 19, 1952, Eli was drafted into the US Army. After Basic Training at Fort Leonard Wood, MO., Eli was assigned and spent most of his Active Duty with the 969th Engineer Battalion (Combat) as Personnel Supervisor. In 1954, upon the release of Active Duty from the Engineer Center in Fort Belvoir, VA, he transferred to the U.S. Army Reserves. He received an Honorable Discharged as a Master Sergeant with 27 years of service. Eli came up through the ranks and provided guidance and training to the junior NCOs.
Eli Davis began his career with the Dallas Independent School District in 1958. In 1990, he retired from the Dallas Independent School District with 33 years of service. During his tenure he was a high school mathematics and science teacher, Assistant Principal of Elementary, Junior High and High Schools, and Principal of the B. F. Darrell Elementary School and Booker T. Washington where he attended as a student.
Eli was employed for 14 years as the Administrative Assistant to Texas State Representative Jesse W. Jones where he served and helped countless constituents in that district.Eli’s other professional experience include that of an U. S. Post Office Mail Carrier from 1955 – 1959, and a Clerk for Southwest Drug Company from 1954 – 1955.
Eli Davis was very active in his community. He mentored, encouraged, and help shaped the minds of thousands of youth, children; and adults. He continued to serve his community and exhibited dynamic leadership, even though his health was failing. Eli was members of several other community organizations including the NAACP, National Council of Negro Women, a past member of Oak Cliff Chamber of Commerce, Moorland Branch YMCA, and United Homeowners of Oak Cliff. From 2013 to the present, Eli served on the Texas Congressional District 33 Service Academy Nomination Committee.
As a long-time Democrat, Eli Davis voted in each Democratic Primary since 1962. Throughout the years, Eli worked in, campaigned for, and supported numerous city, county, state, and national elected officials. Because of his dedication and tireless efforts, he had the opportunity to meet and greet many of our nation’s highest ranking political giants such as President Barack Obama, First Lady & Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Vice President Joe Biden. In the early years, during the 1960s and 1970s, he engaged politically with trailblazers like Julian Bond, Texas Senate and U.S. Representative Barbara Jordan, Governor Ann Richards, Dallas Mayor and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, and numerous other state and local trailblazers. • As a Democratic Precinct Chair, he served on the Dallas County Democratic Party Executive Committee, Precinct Chair Coordinator for Legislative District 111, Member Dallas County Precinct Matters and Party Operation. For many years, Eli was the Dallas County Early Voter Election Judge at the Duncanville Library.
Eli Davis was a wonderful provider, husband, father, grand-father, and great-great grand-father. He left a great legacy and many fond memories with his family. Eli made sure every summer to take a family vacation. After the children grew up when he and Earlie became empty nesters, they would take the grandchildren on summer vacations. Once the grandchildren were grown, Eli and Earlie began to travel across the world. Eli was a loving disciplinarian. Very structure. He taught his children right from wrong. He also taught them about having faith in the Lord, how to conduct themselves, and how to conduct business. Below are some of the shared memories and lessons he taught his children and grandchildren.
Eli leaves to mourn and cherish his legacy, His sweet, lovely bride of 66 years: Earlie His children: Reginald (Elaine Grisby); Ronald (Denise); Rhonda Robertson (Fletcher Johnson); Rosalind Davis-Grimes (Joe Grimes), and Marcialynne Rhodesfields His brothers: James Gardner and Freddie Gardner 10 grandchildren: Princess Hunter (Darryl), Silvia Davis, Chantell Monique Davis, Samuel Robertson, IV, Sedrick Robertson (Rachel), Sha-Rhonda Robertson, Earlicia Dawn, Joseph Grimes, Stephen Fields, and Santricia Fields 11 great-grandchildren, 4 great-great grandchildren, 3 god-daughters, 1 god-son, a host of cousins, nieces, nephews, other family members, his church family, friends, and his community. Eli’s godly wisdom, counsel, and kindred spirit will be greatly missed.
11:30 am - 12:00 pm
Dallas Fort Worth National Cemetery
2000 Mountain Creek Parkway
- Visitation & Wake Service Friday, August 17, 2018
- Funeral Service Saturday, August 18, 2018
Deacon Eli Davis
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August 19, 2018
Thoughts of comfort and condolences to the grieving family.
Prayers to all in this time of need.
Rest in peace.
SSG Kevin Lewis
US Army, Retired
Roberto R Alonzo
August 15, 2018
Our family is very saddened by the tragic death of Eli Davis. He was not only an Army Veteran, but a friend to many.
Eli was an influential public servant to numerous adults and students in the community. He was one of those rare individuals with whom you could share happiness.
He will missed abundantly. Life is incomplete without him. May his soul rest in peace.
Roberto R Alonzo
Texas House of Representatives
August 14, 2018
I didn't know Mr. Davis very well but know his daughter Roz Grimes. My church family from BKCC visited Mr. Davis when he was in the nursing home and he and his wife were so sweet and loving. My prayers and sympathy to the family. Sis Thelma Lane