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Peter Bertel "Pete" DAVIDSEN
Zipperer's Funeral Home - Ruskin
1520 33rd ST SE
Ruskin, FL
DAVIDSEN, Peter Bertel "Pete"

82, of Ruskin, FL, passed Sunday, April 7, 2019. Pete was born in Auburndale, FL February 23, 1937, to Clarence and Lou Porter Davidsen. Pete survived his parents, his aunts, uncles, his adoring mother-in-law, Esther Yeatts Bennett, and brothers-in-law, Roger Bennett and Nat Bowie. Pete's survivors include his wife, Claudia; his sons, Jeffry Martin Davidsen and Jean-Christophe Camp (Corie); granddaughters, Allyssa and Dyllan; nieces, Amy Bowie Haggerty (John) and Rebecca Bowie Huffer. Pete's sister, Ann Davidsen Bowie, survived him by two weeks and one day. They were close in both life and passing. Other family survivors include John and Barbara Bennett, Lowell and Yvette Bennett, Peter and Rosemary Bennett, Doug and Glorie Anna Johnston, Duffy and Kelly Johnston, Eric and Tana Schultz, and Judith Sortore. Included among these family members are their own immediate families. Pete is also survived by his little doggie boys, Max and Skip. Pete earned both undergraduate and graduate degrees at the University of Florida while on a full football scholarship. He did further post-graduate study at the University of South Florida. Pete's professional mission was the education of the youth of Hillsborough County. He began his storied career at Plant High School in Tampa, FL as a teacher, then dean and assistant principal. He continued as principal at Madison Junior High School, principal at Robinson High School, and then school district administration. He retired as Deputy Superintendent of Schools in January 1998. Pete's retirement was active. A life-long athlete, he continued to be an intimidating presence on tennis courts and golf courses. Pete stayed busy with home projects, both large and small. Throughout his career and into his retirement, Pete received too many commendations and honors than can be named. He was especially proud of Peter B. Davidsen Middle School. Though retired, Pete was actively involved with the school from the time ground was broken for the building until the school was dedicated. He greatly enjoyed his association with the founding principal, Becky Kaskeski. Pete loved his friends and family who were especially helpful, spent time with him and brightened his final days. Among those are Karen Bishop, Jean-Christophe and Corie Camp, Jim and Sheila Edenfield, Allan Flowers, Glorie Anna and Doug Johnston, Linda Kelleher, Paul Sablan and Freddie, Roxie and Theo Sablan. Other friends and neighbors who spent time with Pete and boosted his morale are Chris Bredbenner, Kate Hamilton, Michael Miller, Barry and Vickie Rumsey, and John and Leeann Sablan. We appreciate the care of LifePath Hospice's Green Team, endocrinologist Dr. Monther Halawani, dermatologist Dr. Jerry Hedrick, cardiologist Dr. Shahid Malik, and geriatrician/primary care Dr. Jason Stibich. We are further grateful to the staff of those practices. We appreciate staff and owners of Zipperer's Funeral Home in Ruskin for their sensitivity and advice. At Pete's insistence, there will be no formal services. We invite you to visit to share your memories and thoughts. In lieu of other material tributes, please donate or otherwise support a cause or charity of your choice.
Published by Tampa Bay Times from May 2 to May 6, 2019.
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11 Entries
HIGH SCHOOL, freshman year. Yikes, An older sister, she was I the same boat, we put an oar in the water and away we went.
The secret in that little town, 'HE WAS MY COUSIN", and Pete treated me like I might have been someone new who deserved interest.
Walking in the hall, a greeting that all envied, and that casual arm thrown across my shoulder as I stood in the lunch line. Or even better, stopping at the freshman table to ask how was my day going.
The best was yet to be. Football star, school dance following the game. Of course we were there. A winning team with a group of young men out to set new records. Yep, he didn't miss a step, the first music played, he stepped away from his date, came over, put out his hand and said, "I think we need to dance to this Nickey".
So it went. Growing up he working on the chicken farm, seven days a week. Hard work, no backing off. Pete along with my dad taught me to drive at the age of 12 years. The yellow truck, five speed stick, and "if you don't double clutch this we will probably die in an accident crossing Highway 92".
So I drove, he loaded baskets of eggs on the truck, and we knew any cracked eggs meant money lost. Economics early, work ethic reinforced, opportunities revealed - two working together makes for a better day.
Not to be overlooked was a devoted local football coach, Mr. Tom Terry, who not only coached but mentored young people in our little town. Sunday mornings, under an oak tree outside of the Methodist Church, a full circle of young people listening and sharing about God. Doesn't get much better. WE were there together, full of questions, filled with respect as we walked through Old Testament scripture. Never less than twenty-five of us on those mornings.
Away he went, graduation with his friends Raymond and Lamar encouraging one another. I thought these two were relatives at first blush as they always seemed to be eating at Aunt Lou's table.
University life, football, grades, a life shaping up. Selected for many events chosen indeed!
Then we moved into adulthood, less contact but always a thread, especially at his birthday. How could that be forgotten. Full busy lives, ups and downs, and then we returned to my home state and had an opportunity to see a face catch up, share a martini, and grimace that he was a registered Democrat! HOW IN THE WORLD DID THAT HAPPEN? Something I continue to grieve.
Pete's mom, from the Porter side of the family is my connection. My mom, Lillian Porter Dull, was aligned with siblings akin to a tribe of people who needed to be studied. Loyal, tough, fun, determined, and the grew up in that "great generation". No idea that there was a "Glass Ceiling", an unattainable goal, or much of anything else that might slow you down in life. TOUGH AS A BOOT, AND SMART ON TOP OF IT!
Don't miss this - music, a central part of our family which deserved action. Dance and paying the band to keep on playing.
Pete brought Jeff into our lives, and then we got really lucky.
PAY DIRT, Claudia! First met her at a family funeral in Fernandina Beach (more Porter history), and instincts proved that he had indeed found the perfect mate, A wonderful relationship through the thick and thin, I consider Claudia a friend of the highest value.
We have suffered a loss but what we gained outweighs loss. I think of Pete and start to smile, in fact, laugh out loud, The day he handed a freshman girl, no license to drive, his car keys with instructions to take the back road, park the car in our front yard, and he would pick it up later. Of course he knew I could drive just about anything, and trust was great. Adult supervision was needed.
So in the spirit that Pete would hope for, it is time to celebrate a life well lived, touching so many in positive tones. Remember, if you put a line with a hook on it into the water, get ready, You are now about to experience a special high which Pete loved.
Written from a heart turned upside down, so each memory could fall out and be shared with family and friends.
With great love and respect, Nickey Dull Sprung (I just know that I have to be his favorite cousin)
June 10, 2019
Dear Claudia and all of Pete's family,

I'm coming in a little late here, but that has given me an opportunity to read the many memories and tributes to Pete ahead of my own.

I've only known you and Pete for about a decade, but I've always felt grateful for the gift of your friendship, for the gatherings and hospitality in your beautiful, interesting and idiosyncratic home, and for the social and cultural values we share. And for our shared love of dogs, too. (See, Max and Skip, I couldn't leave you out!)

As a retired teacher, I'm especially moved by the words of Pete's students and colleagues. Pete's warmth and humility and gentle, slightly droll humor, combined with his professional accomplishments and strengths, clearly had and will have enduring influence.

Little things, too, light up my own memory, like the time my dog Ralegh fell in the Davidsen swimming pool. Twice!

Claudia, I'm looking forward to the gathering of the Pete Davidsen Fan Club next month.

Pete, I'm lucky to have known you. As I hit Post I'm lifting a glass of good whiskey in your honor!

Peter Klappert (+ Ralegh, + Luna)
Peter Klappert
May 18, 2019
Claudia and Family, Pete Davidsen hired me in 1990 to be the Food Service Director. I was an "outsider" at the time and following someone who had been in the position for twenty years plus. Coming from a small district, I had no idea how a big district operated - I was in for a challenge! And as my boss, Pete helped me navigate some difficult situations, implemented many of my ideas, and supported me through many "naysayers" who were not happy with me or my decisions! Nevertheless, we moved the program forward by making it financially stable, increasing morale with team members, and creating a better nutrition experience for students. I always found him to be kind, honest, and fair.
Rest in Peace Pete and may God Bless his Family
Mary Kate Harrison
May 6, 2019
When I arrived at the District in 1993, I went to see Mr. Davidsen in an attempt to acquire monies for Department vehicles (as our officers had been driving their own cars on patrol- being reimbursed for mileage only) and safety gear (bullet proof vests and the like). While we initially had "interesting exchanges" regarding our different safety and security "philosophies," Mr. Davidsen found the resources for our Department's needs...thus greatly enhancing the safety, as well as the morale of all our officers. Mr. Davidsen earned my deep respect through his dedication, intelligence, tenacity, and hard work. May he rest in peace.
David Friedberg
May 5, 2019
Dear Claudia and family,
My best of thoughts and prayers go to you today and in the days to come as you continue to celebrate the life of our beloved Pete Davidsen. When I heard of Pete's passing, I felt compelled to write some thoughts on my Facebook page because I wanted to share how much of a role he played in my life and career as an educator. My first thoughts were if he ever really understood how grateful I was for his encouragement, support and leadership. He had the confidence in me to hire me twice, be an advocate for me as I moved into administration, provide me with opportunities for growth that have served me well in my 45 year career. I do not think that he was good or comfortable at accepting a "thank you" or wanting recognition for going the extra mile to help someone. He just quietly guided, was willing to empower and lead by example. I have always been and will always be so appreciative of the many ways he helped me learn, grow and hopefully be a good example of our noble profession. I just hope I have done him proud. May God rest his soul and bless all of you!
Dr. Sylvia Cantrell Albritton
May 4, 2019
Pete was a very good friend and was a great school principal. He knew most of his students names and they all loved him. I truly enjoyed working with him as he was always sincere and enthusiastic about everything
Van Williams
May 3, 2019
I played football with Pete at the University of Florida. Pete was a year ahead of me, but I recall him helping me to overcome some of my nervousness during my freshman year. We both played tackle for the Gators. I always wondered what happened to him and I see he had a very successful career. His family should be proud of him.
Richard (Dick) Brantley
May 2, 2019
Nelson and I send our love to Claudia and the Davidsen family. Pete was such a good man and a wonderful teacher, mentor and leader for those of us who were fortunate enough to know him.
Margaret Griffin
May 2, 2019
Sympathies and prayers to Claudia and family. I had the honor of working for Mr. Davidsen when he served as Deputy Superintendent. Always the educator I learned so much from him. He will be greatly missed.
Linda and Henry Fernandez
May 2, 2019
My sincerest condolences to the Davidsen Family for the loss of your loved one, Peter Bertel, "Pete", and pray you find comfort in Psalms 91:2.
May 2, 2019
Offering our deepest condolences during this difficult time.
The Staff of Zipperer's Agape Mortuary & Crematory
May 2, 2019
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