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John McElroy Davis


1927 - 2014 | Obituary Condolences
John McElroy Davis Obituary
John McElroy Davis

Virginia Beach - John McElroy ("Mac") Davis, 87, of Virginia Beach passed away in Colorado on June 26, 2014 after a long battle with cancer. Born in Danville, Virginia on June 9, 1927 to Hazel Wilson Davis and Harold Leicester Davis, Mac grew up in Fries, Virginia and spent his teen years in Greenville, S.C.

An Army Air Corps veteran (1945-47), he attended Bob Jones University and Virginia Tech (Class of '51), where he received a degree in Mining Engineering. He later earned a Masters in Engineering Administration from George Washington University.

Mac married Estelle Vakos, a Radford graduate, in 1951, and they settled in Virginia Beach near the Vakos family. Over the next 31 years, he pursued a civil engineering career with the Navy at Norfolk Naval Base becoming the Director of the Design Division, Atlantic Division, Navy Facilities Engineering Command. His team of architects and engineers provided design support for more than 200 naval facilities around the world which required him to travel to Europe, Antarctica, South America, the Near and Far East, and other interesting places. Before retiring in 1983, he received numerous awards including Federal Naval Facilities Command Engineer of the Year, which he received in 1980 from the National Society of Professional Engineers in Washington, D.C.

In addition to his career, Mac was a productive real estate developer. He built and co-owned the Royal Clipper Motor Lodge on Atlantic Avenue in Virginia Beach and developed a number of other properties in Virginia, Maryland, Florida, and Colorado. After retiring, he assisted with the design of the Virginia Beach Convention Center and served on various community boards.

Mac's background in mining engineering led him to his passion, collecting rocks and minerals all over the world. He served as President of the Tidewater Gem and Mineral Society and enjoyed sharing his hobby with various children's groups in local churches and schools. He also loved rockhunting trips, photography, good music, and the Hokies!

Mac's three siblings, Harold L. Davis, Jr., Janice Burdett, and Charles Davis, are deceased. He is survived by his beautiful wife, Estelle, one daughter, Jeanne Sprowls, son-in law, David Sprowls, two granddaughters, Laura Sprowls and Lisa Sprowls, as well as many nieces and nephews. The funeral service and reception will take place at Galilee Episcopal Church in Virginia Beach starting at 11:00 AM on Friday, August 8. Charitable contributions can be made to Virginia Beach Rescue Squad, a local Blood Bank or .

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Published in The Virginian Pilot on Aug. 3, 2014
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