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Murphy - John Allen Davidson, 101, died in Murphy, November 18. He was born May 16, 1912 in Murphy, NC.
His parents were Neil Allen Davidson and Sarah Jane "Sally" Stansbury Davidson.
He was a member of early baseball, basketball and football teams at Murphy High School. Graduating in 1930, he went to New Orleans where he worked in a cafeteria by day and learned jazz piano at night on the riverboat SS Capitol. He worked his way through Cecil's Business College in Asheville playing in speakeasies with an ensemble sometimes known as "John Davidson and his Orchestra" and sometimes "The Campus Casanovas."
Back in Murphy, he played piano at the Regal Hotel and organized local musicians into bands for the annual March of Dimes Dances. He worked for TVA in the building of Hiwassee, Chatuge, and Fontana Dams.
In 1938 he married his childhood sweetheart Kathleen Olive Axley, daughter of May Akin and John Axley of Murphy.
He served in General Patton's Third Army in France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany. After VE day, he was reassigned to the Pacific Theater and was in Manila when the war ended Aug 1945.
He worked for the North Carolina Division of Veterans' Affairs, serving as the District Service Officer for Jackson, Swain, Macon, Graham, Clay and Cherokee Counties until his retirement in 1977. The veterans he represented included those from Vietnam, Korea, World War II, World War I, and the Spanish American War. He was honored by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians for his service, and presented with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine by the state of North Carolina.
In recent years, he was a daily visitor to the John C Campbell Folk School and a photographer of all events around Murphy. He was a member of the American Legion Post 96, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the First United Methodist Church of Murphy.
He goes to be reunited with Kathleen and his grandson, John Neil Davidson. Among those giving thanks for his long life of love are daughter, Kay Davidson Nabers and husband, Jim of Saluda, NC. Son, John Allen Davidson, Jr. "Jan" and wife Nanette of Brasstown; grandchildren, John Davidson Mulkey and wife Kim of New York City, Neil Allen Mulkey and wife Cecilia of Asheville, Chloe Anne Davidson of Asheville, Samuel Ballard Davidson of Brasstown; great grandchildren, Erin Mulkey and Roderick Mulkey of Asheville, nephew, Gene Bates, and Axleys, Akins and Davidsons.
A celebration of the life of John Davidson will be held at Davidson Hall, John C. Campbell Folk School, Brasstown, NC, on Sunday December 1, from 1 to 3.
Ivie Funeral Home, Murphy in charge of arrangements.
An online guest register is available at www.iviefuneralhomeinc.com.
Ivie Funeral Home
194 Peachtree Street Murphy, NC 28906
Published in the Asheville Citizen-Times on Nov. 21, 2013