Michael Ian Davis, PhD

July 17, 1936May 9, 2013

MICHAEL DAVIS Michael Ian Davis, PhD, UTEP Professor of Chemistry, died May 9, 2013 at age 76 from lung cancer. He is survived by his wife, the former Sandra Rodehaver; daughter, Paula Helen Tomitz; grandsons, Ivan and Colton Tomitz; sister, Gillian Verner; and four step children: Valorie Foster, Julie Rutledge, Melanie Baily and Blake Scoggins. Dr. Davis earned his BSc, with honors, and his PhD in chemistry from University College London. The research for his Doctorate was performed at the University of Oslo under Professor Odd Hassel, a Nobel Laureate in Chemistry. Upon receipt of his doctorate, he came to America to serve on the faculty of the University of Texas at Austin. In 1968, he was recruited to the chemistry department of the recently renamed University of Texas at El Paso to help transform the department from a primarily undergraduate to a graduate and research-oriented department. He did so, and also played a significant role in establishing the doctoral program in Chemistry at UTEP. During his 44 years at UTEP - and total of 51 years in the University of Texas System - Dr. Davis published 60 peer-reviewed journal articles and received funding from the National Science Foundation, the Robert A Welch Foundation, and the National Institute of Health. His initial research activities involved determining structures of molecules in the gas phase, a tricky business since molecules are constantly moving. Later in his career he tackled a completely new area: the complex nature of mixtures, in particular the thermodynamics of liquid mixtures, an area of biological importance. Perhaps Dr. Davis' most important role was that of Teacher and Mentor, including his development of the Computational Chemistry courses and his signature work in building and running Physical Chemistry courses. He also served as Chairman of the Faculty Senate, and as the need arose, Chairman of the Chemistry Department. Dr. Davis was awarded Professor Emeritus in 2012. Amongst Michael's other joys in life were traveling throughout Europe - especially France; working on his extensive stamp collection while listening to classical music; and rooting for his soccer team, the Arsenal. In addition, Michael shared his wife's passion for dog activities. He was a longtime member of the Rio Grande Obedience Dog Club and on the Humane Society of El Paso Board of Directors for two decades, serving as President of the Board multiple times. He was subsequently a member of the Humane Society's Endowment Board until his death. A Celebration of Michael's Life will take place at Amigos Restaurant, 2000 Montana, at 2:00PM Thursday, May 16. If you would like to make a memorial contribution, please consider the Humane Society of El Paso.


  • Celebration of Life Thursday, May 16, 2013

Michael Ian Davis, PhD

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Chaplain Sam Faraone

May 17, 2013

Sincere condolences from the entire staff of CIMA Hospice. It was a privilege to meet Mr. Davis. May you find comfort in the many wonderful memories of life and love that you shared together.

Tracey (Williams) Kiesling

May 16, 2013

My condolences to the whole family, especially Sandra and Valorie.

K W Hipps

May 16, 2013

With fond memories of a gentleman teacher