John was born on September 13, 1934 in Jackson, Michigan as the only child of Clarence and Emma Jane Davis. At the age of four, his family moved to Wilmette, Illinois where he spent the remainder of his childhood years and attended New Trier High School. He matriculated at Purdue University, graduating with a BS in Mechanical Engineering, in 1956. He joined ROTC during his four years of college, pursuing his childhood passion for planes and flying, with the dream of ultimately joining the Air Force. It was at Purdue that John met the love of his life, the beautiful brunette and Pi Phi Barbara Lee Davis. They married shortly after graduation and embarked upon a 66-year-long inseparable love affair. John joined the Air Force upon graduation in 1956. Ranked #1 in flight school, he had his pick of assignments and John and Barbara chose Hickam Air Force Base in Honolulu, Hawaii where he flew C124s. Being in the Air Force during peace time afforded them the opportunity to travel, which took them to places they reminisced about their entire married life. He and Barbara would often say that they experienced some of their happiest days together in Honolulu.
After proudly serving in the Air Force for four years, John spent most of his career with General Electric’s Nuclear Power Services, which moved his growing family with three children from Danville, California to San Jose, California, to Joliet, Illinois and to Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Upon retirement, John and Barbara moved to Sarasota, Florida and they ultimately settled in the Kansas City area, near family. Although most of John’s time was dedicated to his career, he made time for memorable family experiences such as summer trips to Madison, New York where his father grew up and parents summered, ski excursions to Aspen, Colorado, a sailing experience in the Virgin Islands and an Italian adventure for the entire family as recently as 2007. He also always found time for do-it-yourself projects. He had a passion for woodworking and was able to fix or build just about anything. John passed these skills on to his two sons, who are currently passing these skills down to the next generation. John’s core values, the values he and his wife shared, were the foundation of the family they created together, and included the importance of honesty, hard work, financial prudence and self-sufficiency.
John, preceded in death by his wife Barbara and grandson Michael, is survived by his three children, Carolyn Mehran (husband Alex), Bill Davis (wife Julie) and Ken Davis (wife Susanne), his three grandchildren, Lindsey Hughes (husband Stafford), Kate and
Ralph Davis, and his two great-grandchildren Cameron and Pierce Hughes.
In honoring John’s wishes, he will be interred at Leavenworth National Cemetery alongside Barbara with military honors, in a private family service. In lieu of flowers or donations, the family invites everyone who knew John to join in reflecting on cherished memories of John, celebrating a life well-lived and a legacy that will endure for generations.
The family extends their deepest gratitude to the compassionate team at Ascend Hospice, whose boundless care brought comfort and joy to John in the final months of his life. Their devoted care not only lifted his spirits but also put a smile on his face, creating moments of warmth and peace that will forever be cherished.