William Watkins Davis
1940 - 2021
William "Bill" Watkins Davis of Yorkville, Illinois, had many talents. He was a devoted husband, adored father, and accomplished orthodontist, but he was also a horse breeder, real estate entrepreneur, farmer, traveler, painter, legendary cook, animated storyteller, and devoted friend. On April 7, 2021, Bill passed away on a warm Spring evening with his wife Sherrie of nearly 60 years and his four surviving children, Lynette, Alexandra, Erin, and Fred, around him. He was met on the threshold of heaven by his late son Billy.

Bill leaves a legacy, not only through the people he loved most in the world, but in his many, many acts of kindness.

Bill was born on Chicago's South Side on November 20, 1940, to Elsie and William Davis. His mother was born in England and his father was a car salesman from Illinois. The youngest of 4 brothers, he lost his father to a tragic accident at age 4. A graduate of Parker High School, he had dreams of becoming a dentist.

Bill attended Valparaiso University, close to the beloved lakeside cottage where he spent many summers with his aunts, uncles and cousins. The swimming skills learned at the lake allowed him to letter on the Valparaiso swim team.

In the summer of 1961, he met the love of his life, Sherrie Proffe, on a blind date. Three months later, much to everyone's surprise, they eloped.

This youthful, happy marriage spurred Bill to become more serious about school and life. He applied to the University of Illinois Dental School and, as he tells it, barely made it in. He was named an alternate and was ultimately accepted to the Dental School on the first day of classes.

To support their growing family and pay for dental school, Sherrie worked in a medical office and Bill drove a city bus in Chicago. He accumulated many stories of his adventures that he loved to recount. To help Bill pass his courses, Sherrie would read his dental books into a cassette recorder. These audio recordings and his hard work paid off as he graduated in the top 5% of his class, allowing him to specialize in orthodontistry.

His call to service in the Army interrupted his schooling. He proudly served as a captain at Fort Devens, Massachusetts. Two years later, he returned to the University of Illinois where he graduated with an advanced degree in orthodontics in 1970.

"Doc"-as he was known to many-was passionate about changing his patients' lives through his work. He had a beautiful sense of aesthetics when it came to a smile. He often volunteered his services without compensation because he realized what a difference he could make in someone's life.

Achievement was very important to Bill. He had seen how his mother had struggled after his father had died, and he encouraged his children, especially his daughters, to be as highly educated and independent as possible.

As Doc gradually retired from orthodontistry, he followed his passion into horseracing, eventually raising horses to race at Hawthorne and Arlington International Racecourse. This passion led to his interest in farms. Bill and Sherrie's first purchase was 127 acres in Kendall County, where they moved their family of seven from Downer's Grove to Yorkville, Illinois in 1981.

Bill was honest, extremely honest. You never heard him tell a lie. He was fair. He never held a grudge. He believed a man is as good as his word, and when you shake his hand you look him in the eye.

Bill saw the potential in what could be-whether it meant transforming pieces of scrap wood into an English-style basement or inspiring a person to stretch themselves, get out of debt, and pursue their dreams.

Bill's family was everything to him. He and Sherrie raised a family of five: Lynette (Chip), Alexandra (Steve), William (deceased) (Karen), Erin, and Fred. In addition, he will be greatly missed by his many grandchildren, Lindsay, Grace, Alex, Noah, William, Josie, Sophie, William, Elle, Matthew, Harry, Hayden, and James.

In lieu of a memorial, please love your family an extra ounce, give generously to those who cross your path, and leave the world better than you found it. Just like he did.

A celebration of his Wonderful Life will be held in September.

To plant trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published by Chicago Tribune from May 2 to May 9, 2021.
No memorial events are currently scheduled.
To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
Add a Message
10 Entries
I´m very sorry to hear of Bill´s passing. He and the rest of the Davis family have always held a special place in my heart for the years where we grew up together in Downers Grove. I even lived and traveled for a year with my own family in an rv perhaps inspired by your family´s Winnebago. Please accept my heartfelt condolences.
Vincent Rubino
May 9, 2021
I didn't know Bill, but after reading about his amazing life, I did. Thanks for sharing.
Jon Mickelson
May 9, 2021
We think of Bill often as Marcella told him" My teeth are not straight enough". She is still wearing a retainer at the age of 44. Her smile is beautiful because of Bill. He even posted her picture in the office. . My son has a great smile and remembers him fondly because he didn't have to have any teeth pulled. or wear a head gear.( That was the family joke.) Bill and I would discuss farming, because I took over our farms after my husband passed. I enjoyed my children's visits to the office and at times seeing his wonderful wife. Your family is in my thoughts and prayers. You all are blessed with wonderful memories. The Lana Schade Family
Lana , Avery, and Marcella Schade
May 9, 2021
Kathy and Jim Traugott
May 5, 2021
In loving memory of a beautiful person who took interest in family and friends
May 5, 2021
Sending my heartfelt condolences to you, Erin and your entire family. I know he left a great legacy in you and your family. Sounded like an amazing man. I know he will be missed.
Lisa Autry
May 4, 2021
Always a kind and generous close friend Enjoyed so many fun times together I´ll see you later Bill when my time is up
Dan n Ann
May 3, 2021
My deepest sympathies for your loss, he sounds like an amazing man.
Nancy Tichy
May 2, 2021
So sorry to hear of Doc Davis' passing. He was a great friend to our family and he gave me a beautiful smile. I remember as a kid he always told me which candies not to eat at halloween. LOL. May the fond memories of Doc comfort you at this time.
Jayme Pergler-Del Grosso
May 2, 2021
Condolences to your family. I am a dental school classmate of Bill.
Donald Lason
May 2, 2021