ATHENS – Dr. James Earl Davis, 86, of Athens died Friday, Jan. 8, 2021, at his home with his family. Born May 18, 1934 in Morehead, KY, he was the son of the late William James Davis and Oda Hazel Padgett.
Professor Davis received B.A. and M.A. degrees from Morehead State University and taught English at MSU and in high school for eleven years. He did further graduate work at the University of Iowa and the University of Kentucky before completing his Ph.D. degree at Florida State University. He also received an honorary doctor of letters degree at Morehead State University in 1998. Other accomplishments include Chair of the Department of English at Ohio University (1978-1983), founder and President of the Southeastern Ohio Council of Teachers of English, President of the Ohio Council of Teachers of English, and President of the National Council of Teachers of English.
Dr. Davis published well over three hundred articles and chapters in books and has given presentations around the country on such subjects as intellectual freedom, censorship, and the importance of language and literature. He edited and co-edited a number of books and co-authored PRESENTING WILLIAM SLEATOR with his wife, Hazel K. Davis. He passed his love of teaching down to his many students and to his children and grandchildren. His son Christopher taught English for 30 years in Troy, OH and granddaughter Irene currently teaches English at Athens High School.
His many interests also included antiques, yard sales, gardening, bird watching, reading mysteries, keeping up with politics, caring for a parade of dogs and cats over the years, and most of all proudly following what his grandchildren and great grandchildren were doing.
He was preceded in death by his parents, four sisters, and a brother.
He is survived by Hazel (Kidd), his wife for 61 years; three children, James Christopher (Connie), Charles Michael, and Rebecca Laura Hancock Pickett; five grandchildren, Rachael Davis (Zach) Pate, Greencastle, IN, Adam Davis, Indianapolis, lN, Eugene Hancock, Athens, OH, Irene Hancock, Athens, OH, and Jessica Davis, Hampton Bay, NY; five great-grandchildren, Patrick, Emma, and Caitlin Pate, Hazel and Oliver Davis; numerous nieces and nephews including, Wilma (Sissy) Lewis, Morehead, KY, David and Ronnie Richardson, Louisville, KY, and Paul Richardson, Morehead, KY.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be no funeral services at this time. Memorial contributions may be made to the Athens Public Library or the Athens County Humane Society. Arrangements are with Jagers & Sons Funeral Home, Athens. Please share a memory, a note of condolence or sign the online register at www.jagersfuneralhome.com.