John Alexander 'Jack' Davis III, age 81, passed away Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014, after a brief illness. He was born Sept. 30, 1932, in Little Rock to Eva Norman Davis and John Alexander Davis Jr. He was one of eight children growing up on the Davis Dairy Farm in Saline County.
He graduated from Bryant High School, where he served as student body president in the 11th and 12th grades. He helped start the first Bryant Hornet football team in 1949. Jack would still meet the “49ers” for coffee to this day.
From 1953 to 1955, he served in the Army. He attended the University of Central Arkansas and the University of Maryland before earning a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. He was president of the U of A student body in 1958, the same year he earned his juris doctorate degree. He was a student member of the Faculty Athletic Committee, and his love for the Razorbacks continued throughout his life. He was also a member of The Law Review and served as attorney general of the student body.
After law school, he moved to Pine Bluff to join the Bridges law firm. The firm’s name was changed to Bridges, Young, Matthews & Davis when Jack became a partner. From 1979 to 1993, he worked for United Dominion Industries Inc. (formerly AMCA) in Hanover, N.H., and Charlotte, N.C., having served as senior vice president, general counsel and secretary. After retirement and moving back to Little Rock, he became counsel to the Rose Law Firm from 1993 to 1998.
In 1998, he helped establish ADR Inc., the first alternative dispute resolution firm in Arkansas. While doing mediations and arbitrations, he continued to practice law, one of his greatest passions in life. He joyfully worked until becoming ill in mid-December.
His professional affiliations included the American Bar Association and the Arkansas Bar Association. He served as president of the Arkansas Bar Foundation, chairman of the Young Lawyers Section, chairman of the Executive Council and chairman of the Legislation Committee. He served as president of the Jefferson County Bar Association and was a member of the Society for Professionals in Dispute Resolution and Arkansas Conflict Resolution Association. He was a board member and secretary of Association of Attorney-Mediators. He earned numerous Golden Gavel Awards for his contributions to the work of the Arkansas Bar Association.
His corporate directorships included First National Bank of Sheridan as an organizer and initial Board of Directors member, Dickerson Group Inc., in Monroe, N.C., Tomes Landing Inc., in Port Deposit, Md., Hardy Construction Co. in Little Rock and Kyzen Corp. in Nashville, Tenn.
Throughout his career, Jack was active in civic and community affairs and endeavors. In Pine Bluff, he was on the Board of Trustees for First United Methodist Church, where he was also a Sunday School teacher. For United Way Jefferson County, he was campaign chairman in 1965 and president in 1966. He was president of Kiwanis Club in 1969; served on the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and the Jefferson County Library Board, serving as chairman from 1975 to 1979; was vice president of the Jaycees; and served on the Pine Bluff Planning Commission from 1992 to 1997. In Hanover, he served on the Hanover School Board from 1985 to 1988. In Charlotte, he served on the Board of Visitors for Davidson College from 1990 to 1993, Board of Directors for Central Piedmont Community College Foundation from 1991 to 1993 and Board of Trustees for the Mint Museum of Art from 1991 to 1993.
In Little Rock, he was a member of Kiwanis Club, Arkansas Small Business Council and a volunteer Pulaski County probation officer. He was most proud of his involvement with Camp Aldersgate in Little Rock, serving on the Board of Directors and Development Committee. He was quick to share his devotion for Camp Aldersgate, a camp for individuals with special needs.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his brothers, Norman, Terry, and Joe. He is survived by his wife of 43 years, Jessica Hill Davis; son Zan and his daughter Anna of Little Rock, daughter Amy Parker and husband Greg of Fayetteville and children Davis and Cate, son Austin and wife Dede of Little Rock and children Cameron and Jonathan, Jason and wife Mary Ellen of Black Mountain, N.C., daughter Alexandra of Little Rock, sister Catherine Milks of Benton, and three brothers, Jeff and wife Jean of Benton, Doyle and wife Louise of Marietta, Ga., and Bob and wife Nancy of Benton.
A true Southern gentleman with poise and grace, Jack loved his family and the law. He always had a gleam in his eye with a wry smile and interesting tales to tell. He was a most respected attorney and always humble and affable. His guidance, love and support extended beyond his own family and children. He was a mentor to many and influential in helping them in life. He believed in keeping the mind sharp by doing brain teasers and crossword puzzles. Going to Razorback games or watching them with Jack was always an event.
Funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 5, at Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church, 4823 Woodlawn Drive in Little Rock, with the Rev. Britt Skarda officiating. A committal service will follow at 2 p.m. at Graceland Cemetery in Pine Bluff.
The family will receive friends from 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 4, at the Davis home, 1825 Spruce S., Little Rock.
Memorials may be made to Camp Aldersgate, 2000 Aldersgate Road, Little Rock, AR 72205.
Arrangements are by Ralph Robinson & Son in Pine Bluff, www.ralphrobinsonandson.com .