RALPH W. DAVIS
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Ralph W. Davis was born April 7, 1925 in San Bernardino. His father, Ralph W. Davis, Sr., was a life-long newspaper man in Pittsburgh, Bakersfield, San Bernardino and Los Angeles. He was associate editor, vice president and director of the Sun Company, later an editorial writer for the L.A. Times, and finally, publisher of the San Bernardino Independent. Orlis I. Kennedy, his maternal grandfather, was a San Bernardino attorney in the early 1900's, serving as secretary of the Bar Association and president of the San Bernardino Socialist Club and the Painted Hills Oil Exploration Company. He was more famous for predicting earthquakes and was the subject of a first page article in the L.A. Examiner and another one in the Literary Digest.
Ralph graduated from San Bernardino High School in 1942 and was awarded the Mary E. Barton scholarship to the University of Redlands and a Rotary Club watch as the school's scholar athlete.
At the University of Redlands he played football, basketball and baseball as a freshman. Enlisting in the Navy in 1943 he was returned to the school in the V-12 program. He was named all conference third baseman in a league that included USC and UCLA. Commissioned as an ensign at Notre Dame, he served at five naval stations before joining a unit being formed to set up a radar supply base on Okinawa for the invasion of Japan. When the A-bomb attacks ended the war he was reassigned as officer in charge of the BOQ, mess and bar. He also played on a Navy baseball team which was a finalist in the all services championships at Kadena Air Field. He was invited to join an all star serviceman's team to tour the Philippines but opted to return home and a release to inactive duty.
In 1947 he graduated from Stanford University and was a reporter and night city editor for the San Bernardino Sun Telegram.
In 1949 he joined the Associated Press in San Francisco, where he worked on the foreign desk after the outbreak of the Korean War. Assigned to the Honolulu Bureau, he shortly returned to San Francisco and married Ann McIlree, a Stanford alumna teaching school in the Bay area.
From 1951 to 1956 he was assistant to the editor of the Sun-Telegram, with a year out in 1953 studying the new Japanese democracy under a Reid Foundation fellowship. While in Tokyo he was a Sun-Telegram and Honolulu Star-Bulletin correspondent and makeup editor for the Nippon Times.
In 1956 he moved his growing family to Redlands and joined the Beaver, Wilcoxson and Cook Insurance Agency. He also was Assemblyman Jack Beaver's legislative secretary.
At his retirement in 1988 he was president of Davis & Graeber Insurance Services, Inc., a past president of the Redlands Insurance Agents' Association and a past director of the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of California. He was foreman of the 1955 County Grand Jury which indicted more than 50 narcotics peddlers, secretary of the Republican County Central Committee, chairman of the City Recreation Committee, member of the Planning Commission, senior warden of Trinity Episcopal Church and president of the YMCA. He also served as a director of the Community Chest, Red Cross and Family Service Association. He was a partner in Redlands Swim and Tennis Club, 10 citrus groves and a 35-acre vineyard.
Sports were his hobbies playing on a champion semi-pro baseball team, five softball titlists, and in tennis, handball and racquetball tournaments.
Survivors are his wife of 62 years, Ann; three sons, Philip Davis of Arroyo Grande, Peter Davis (Serena) and Martin Davis (Jane) of Redlands; two daughters, Sara Davis of Los Gatos and Beth Kolpien (Barry) of Redlands; and eight grandchildren, Kelsey Davis, Kiernan Davis, Will Davis, Jimmy Davis, Ben Davis, Mary Davis, Emily Kolpien and Matthew Kolpien .
Services will be private. A memorial reception will be held September 21st at 11:30 a.m. at Redlands Country Club, 1749 Garden Street, Redlands. Donation to A.K. Smiley Library, 125 W. Vine Street, Redlands is suggested.
Published in Redlands Daily Facts from Sept. 13 to Sept. 15, 2013