January 20, 2011

FSU Athletics Mourns Passing Of Paul Davis

Big Rapids, Mich. - Ferris State University Athletics recently lost one of its most dedicated and loyal supporters as former longtime ticket manager Paul Davis passed away on Monday (Jan. 17) at the age of 63.

A 1970 Ferris graduate, Davis retired from FSU in 2004 after working 34 years in the school’s business office. He arrived at Ferris as a student in 1968 and began his position as the school's Assistant Business Office Manager in June of 1970.

Davis never missed a home football or basketball game while serving as the school's ticket manager from 1970 to 2005. He had witnessed every home women's basketball game in Bulldog history and the majority of current records posted by student-athletes in both football and men's basketball during his tenure.

During his time as the ticket manager, Davis also worked numerous high school football playoff games and district/regional basketball games. He served as the original ticket manager for hockey when the program began in the mid-1970's until a full time person was hired to sell those tickets.

"Since Paul could rarely watch a full home football or basketball game due to working the games, he would always travel to a few away games each year as well," said longtime friend and co-worker Paul Quick, who followed Davis as the school's ticket manager for several years.

"When you look at all of the record holders for football along with men's and women's basketball, Paul was here and saw those players play. He would always comment that he saw Ferris' greatest players in action and was here when Jim Wink was the basketball coach," he added.

Upon retirement, Davis became a dedicated full-time bulldog fan of Ferris State University football, basketball, soccer, volleyball and he really enjoyed softball. When he would vacation in Florida, he would often go and watch the Bulldog softball team on their southern trip during spring break.

"Paul has been an institution when it comes to athletics at Ferris State,” former FSU Athletics Director Tom Kirinovic said, when Davis received the school's 2003-04 "Pete Peterson" Bulldog Pride Award upon retirement. “His 30 plus years of athletics involvement were always driven by a pride to see our student-athletes succeed.”

Davis was born on August 18, 1947 in Traverse City to Ervin and Agnes (Pavlis) Davis.  He graduated as salutatorian from Buckley High School in 1965 and completed programs from Northwestern Michigan College, Ferris State University and the University of Nebraska-Omaha.

Following graduation in 1970, Paul worked in the business office at Ferris State University until his retirement in 2004. He enjoyed working for many different departments and especially enjoyed his contact with more than one generation of students and working with the athletic department. After retirement, Paul worked part time for Woodbridge Management and Educational Services on different computer applications at both Ferris and Lake Superior State University.

Davis was a noted Ferris State University Bulldog fan and recognized for not missing a home football game or basketball game in over 34 years at Ferris. Paul traveled every year and visited 47 of the 50 states. He also visited all but three Major League Baseball stadiums. He especially enjoyed spring vacation with his parents in Lakeland, Florida, and hanging out at spring training with the Detroit Tigers.

Paul was predeceased by his mother Agnes Davis in 1984 and by his father Ervin Davis in 2007. He is survived by Sonya Bigelow of Big Rapids, his closest friend of 30 years, his stepmother Arlene Davis of Marshall, Mich., his brother Roy (Colleen) Davis of Midland; beloved uncle of nephews Jonathan (fiancée Alisha Avila) Davis of Grand Rapids, and Aaron (close friend Caroline Newbould) Davis of Seattle, WA.

The family will greet friends from 2:00 p.m. (ET) to 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Friday (Jan. 21) at the Daggett-Gilbert Funeral Home in Big Rapids and one hour prior to Saturday’s service.

Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, January 22, at the Daggett-Gilbert Funeral Home in Big Rapids with Rev. Carl Greene officiating. Spring burial will be at Grant Twp. Cemetery in Buckley, Mich.

Memorial donations in Paul’s name can be made to Ferris State University Athletics (Bulldog Athletic Association), 420 Oak St., PRK 101, Big Rapids, MI 49307 or the charity of the donor’s choice.

The Ferris flag on campus will be lowered to half staff in Davis' memory on Friday, January 21.

"With the passing of Paul Davis, Ferris State Athletics has lost a wealth of historic information and connection to our athletic past," said Quick.

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