Barrie Davis

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Barrie S. Davis

December 22, 1923 - August 19, 2014


Barrie S. Davis died at his home in Zebulon, N.C., on August 19, 2014. He was 90.

Barrie was born December 22, 1923, in Lenoir County, N.C., to the Rev. Theodore B. Davis, a Baptist minister, and Elizabeth "Bess" Farmer Davis, a teacher and writer. In 1924, the family moved to Zebulon, where Barrie lived his entire life except for the time he served during WWII.

He was preceded in death by his parents, his sister, Crystal Potter, and three brothers: Eric, Ted and Ferd. He is survived by his wife of 34 years, Ramona, and their children Michael Davis and wife Terry, Denise Bowling and husband Mike, Sherrie Davis Kinkead and husband Ron, June Sanders and husband Duke, Diane Pentz, Ricky Davis and wife Ann, and Cindy Sheaffer and husband Chris, 11 grandchildren (Brook, Kelly, Barrett, Stacie, Susan, Alexander, Claire, Christopher, AbbyJeanne, Kelsey, Dylan), 10 great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.

Barrie retired from Theo Davis Sons, the family printing business, in 1997. He and two of his brothers partnered to found the company in 1945. In addition to his printing career, Barrie edited the Zebulon Record newspaper for 12 years.

Barrie was proud to serve his country. He withdrew from Wake Forest College to enlist with the U.S. Army in June 1942 at age 18 and was 19 when he started pilot training. He served with the 12th and 15th Air Forces in Africa and Italy in WWII, first flying a P-47 Thunderbolt and later a P-51 Mustang named Honey Bee in honor of his mother. He completed 70 missions, and his six aerial victories qualified him as a Fighter Ace. His awards included a Silver Star, the Distinguished Flying Cross, an Air Medal with 13 clusters, a Purple Heart, and the European Theater of Operations medal with five campaign stars.

In 1949, Barrie was appointed captain in the Field Artillery for the Army National Guard. He chaired a successful effort to acquire an Army National Guard unit in Zebulon. He served 28 years in the Guard, retiring in 1976 with the rank of colonel.

In December 2008, during a celebration of his 85th birthday, the Adjutant General of the N.C. National Guard presented Barrie with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine by the state of N.C., the highest award the governor can bestow.

Some friends referred to Barrie as "Mr. Rotary" because of his dedication to the organization. He joined the Zebulon Rotary Club in January 1946 and remained a member until his death. He served three terms as club president and also was a Rotary District Governor in 1983-84 and Director of Rotary International in 1993-94. In addition, he was District Chairman of the PolioPlus campaign, which raised more than $800,000 to help eradicate polio throughout the world.

Barrie also was dedicated to Zebulon Baptist Church. He was an active member and served as vice chairman of the Sanctuary Building Committee, as a Sunday school teacher, member of the Building Committee and the Strategic Planning Committee.

Barrie loved to be a part of organizations he considered worthy, and the list of his contributions and accomplishments is long. He helped organize the Zebulon Chamber of Commerce and served three terms on the board of directors. He was the charter treasurer of Zebulon Industrial Properties, which brought to Zebulon companies such as Devil Dog, Omark and ITW Hi-Cone. He also was charter chairman of the Zebulon Community Relations Council, which seeks to build understanding and harmony among all segments of the population in the community, and he was a member of the East Wake Business Alliance, which seeks to improve educational opportunities for public school students in east Wake County.

Barrie also was a tutor/mentor for eight years at Zebulon Middle School and was director of Wake County Communities in Schools for five years. He was honored in 1998 with an award from CIS named "The Barrie Davis Walk-the-Talk Award," which is given annually to the outstanding volunteer working with Communities in Schools.

He was a member of the Capital Area Workforce Development Board, serving as board chairman for four years and as treasurer. He was vice chairman of the Better Business Bureau, trustee for the NC State University Design Foundation, on the advisory committee for the Department of Business at Louisburg College, and was a member of the Woodmen of the World, American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Fighter Aces Association, the Zebulon Masonic Lodge, the Zebulon Shrine Club and Amran Temple.

In 2001, the Zebulon Chamber of Commerce named him Citizen of the Year.

Barrie continued to give even after his death. He donated his body for medical training at the UNC School of Medicine in Chapel Hill.

A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday, August 23, at Zebulon Baptist Church, with a celebration of Barrie's life to follow at the Zebulon Rotary Club.

Memorial contributions may be made to Zebulon Baptist Church Building Fund (P.O. Box 366, Zebulon, NC 27597) or the Zebulon Rotary Club (c/o Carnell Taylor, Treas., 101 S. Arendell Ave., Zebulon, NC 27597).

Arrangements by Massey Funeral Home, Zebulon.
Funeral Home
Massey Funeral Home
913 N. Arendell Ave. Zebulon, NC 27597
Funeral Home Details
Published in The News & Observer on Aug. 22, 2014
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