DAVIS, Robert Taylor "Sonny"|
A visionary in his time, staunch conservative, lover of life and people, Robert Taylor "Sonny" Davis passed away May 30, 2014 of natural causes. His quick wit, twinkling blue eyes, and unconditional love will be truly missed.
Born in San Angelo, Texas in 1931, Sonny moved to Austin, Texas with his family before the age of one. He graduated from Austin High School in 1948 then earned a degree in Business Administration from the University of Texas at Austin. He served in the United States Air Force for three years, earning the rank of Captain and assisting in the organization of the Royal Danish Air Force in Copenhagen, Denmark. Following his Honorable Discharge from the Air Force he earned a J.D. from the University of Texas at Austin.
He briefly practiced law in Austin before organizing the campaign of Waggoner Carr, Attorney General of Texas. He was appointed Assistant Attorney General of Texas and served as the legal representative of the State of Texas to the Warren Commission on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. At the Attorney General's request, Sonny organized the Texas Youth Conference on Crime, a consortium of Texas youth organizations, formed to permit youth leaders to develop and implement programs for the prevention of delinquency and drug abuse. For his leadership of this unique program, he received the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge George Washington Medal of Freedom.
In 1963, in cooperation with the Humble Oil Education Foundation, Sonny developed a program for teaching leadership in its rightful role as a science - training college and university deans, as well as student leaders, to be more effective leaders. To further his mission, Sonny authored the text, "The Art of Leadership," still in use today.
In 1974, in cooperation with 100 of America's largest corporations, Sonny organized the Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) program, later renamed Enactus. Today, Enactus continues to bring together student, academic and business leaders who are committed to using the power of entrepreneurial action to improve the quality of life and standard of living for people in need. Enactus is the largest global business and higher education network in the world, active on over 1600 college campuses, in 36 countries. It is supported by numerous major corporations across America and has resulted in over 7,400,000 volunteer hours.
Sonny was selected to serve on the Centennial Council for Prairie View A&M University. The Council's work resulted in a substantial increase in funding for the University from the Permanent University Fund, which provided tens of millions of dollars' worth of new construction on the campus.
Throughout his adult life Sonny has been active in real estate development in Austin, Texas and other entrepreneurial endeavors. He served as President of the Bachelors of Austin, was a founding member of the West Austin Rotary Club, and was a Co-Founder of the Austin Assembly. He is a retired member of the State Bar of Texas and a member of Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity. In his later life, he spent many happy years with his wife on their ranch near Fredericksburg, Texas, where they raised exotic animals and entertained friends and family.
Sonny is preceded in death by his son, Randy Taylor Davis, and survived by his wife of 48 years, Linda McPhaul Davis; daughter Alison Davis Frey and husband Leonard W. Frey III, grandchildren Lucas "Luke" Taylor Frey, Genevieve "Gigi" Louise Frey, and step-granddaughter Isabella Carolina Frey of Austin, TX; sister Betty Davis Willson of Houston, TX; and nephews Sam F. Willson III of Montgomery, TX and Scott D. Willson of Houston, TX and their children.
Visitation will be held at Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home (N. Lamar) in Austin, TX on Wednesday, June 4th from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. Services will be held at the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Austin, TX on Thursday, June 5, 2014 at 2:00 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Enactus (www.enactus.org), the Ronald McDonald House (https://www.rmhc-austin.org), or the American Center for Law and Justice (http://aclj.org).
Obituary and guestbook available online at www.wcfish.com
Published in Austin American-Statesman from June 3 to June 4, 2014