John Bowman Davis died early in the morning on January 28th, 2021 as snow fell at his home in Waynesboro, Virginia. He was 69 years old.
John was born in April 1951 to the late Mary Bowman and Joseph Wilson Davis. John often joked he came a few weeks early to be born on Friday the 13th. The youngest of four brothers, he was preceded in death by his brothers, Joseph Wilson Davis Jr. and James Sherwood Davis, in addition to his parents. He is survived by his wife, Patrice Ann Davis, his son Joseph Ross Davis and his wife, Sarah, his son Andrew Wilson Davis and his wife, Molly, James’ wife, Frances, John’s brother, George Michael Davis and his wife, Donna. He also leaves behind a large extended Davis and Bowman family.
John had an early love for people and creating community that would shape his life and his legacy. This passion drove him to become SCA class president and drum major of the Wilson Memorial High School Band.
In high school, while nurturing this first passion, he discovered his ultimate life-long love, his sweetheart, Patrice, who would become his bride of 48 years.
They followed each other to the former Madison College (now James Madison University) and were married in December 1972. John graduated with a B.A. in History and a Master’s in Education and was also a member of Theta Chi Fraternity, where he formed lifelong friendships. John and Patrice’s mutual dedication to education and civic engagement, and love for their large extended family, kept them close to Augusta County where they began their careers in education.
In 1983 John decided to continue his pursuit of civil service and leadership in the community by successfully running for the office of Augusta County Circuit Court Clerk, where he would serve for another 31 years.
Much has been written about John’s long career. His leadership and influence were far-reaching from local courtrooms and Rotary gatherings at Ms. Rowe’s Restaurant to the state legislature and his work as President of the Virginia Court Clerks’ Association.
John was also former President of the Rotary Club of Staunton - Augusta County and on the boards of both Augusta Health and the Augusta County Historical Society.
His love for history and his friendships across the clerks’ association resulted in many adventures to Civil War battlefields across the commonwealth and East Coast. He also spent many summers on a historic batteau, floating down the James River for the annual James River Batteau Festival.
One of John’s greatest enjoyments was spending time at the family camp in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains where a large, loving extended family often gathers for celebrations.
Early on, John adopted Patrice’s own sizeable extended family as part of his own and his love of the family continued to grow over the years as the family itself grew. John welcomed his son Joe’s wife, Sarah, into the family in 2015 and had an incredibly strong bond with his two grandchildren, Dylan Thomas Davis (4) and Damien James Davis (1).
In the last year of his life John had the pleasure of watching his youngest son, Andrew, marry his love, Molly. John had a deep love for his many dogs, including his “grand-dogs” Ruth and Amos, who were prominently featured in the wedding party.
Although there will be no formal visitation or service at this time, the family looks forward to a future gathering with extended family and friends in celebration of John’s life.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations be made to the Augusta County Historical Society, P.O. Box 686, Staunton, VA 24402; online at augustacountyhs.org/membership or to the Augusta Health Foundation, P.O. Box 1000, Fishersville, VA 22939; online at augustahealth.com/foundation/give.
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The family is being served by Charlton and Groome Funeral Home, Fishersville.
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