Jack C. Davis
Jack C. Davis
Jack C. Davis passed away peacefully in the presence of his family on May 28, 2020, at age 81.
Jack grew up in Lansing, son of Morton and Bess Davis and brother to Gary. He attended Lansing Eastern High School and was a devoted Quaker, bringing home the State Championship Debate trophy in 1956. He remained committed to Lansing Schools throughout his life and later served on the Lansing School District Board of Education, including two terms as President. He is remembered by his brother as having studied late into the night, a display of his exceptional work ethic and endurance.
Jack attended the University of Wisconsin for his undergraduate degree where he met Susan Sheaffer, his future wife. He served as the President of the Student Union and hosted such luminaries as John and Jacqueline Kennedy, Robert Frost, Eleanor Roosevelt and Frank Lloyd Wright. He was a ROTC cadet in college and then served in the U.S. Army before attending Harvard Law School. In 1964, he married Susan in Boston on the same day that he graduated from law school.
The couple first lived in Chicago where Jack joined the distinguished firm Kirkland & Ellis LLP. In 1966, Jack felt the draw of his hometown, and the couple moved to Lansing where he joined the Loomis Law firm. After returning to his beloved Lansing area, Jack busily set out to lay the foundation of his career. Under the tutelage of George W. Loomis, Jack excelled as part of the Loomis Law Firm’s Business Transactions, Real Estate, Business Entities and Tax Law Departments, ultimately becoming one of Lansing’s most respected attorneys, providing expert legal counsel to a large client base. Among many legal professional honors, Jack was awarded the Farhat Outstanding Attorney Award by the Ingham County Bar Association in 2014.
While the couple raised their two children, Gregory and Jennifer, Jack became an avid runner, tennis player, and an enthusiastic Michigan State Spartan fan. He coached their children in a variety of sports and the whole family enjoyed extensive travels. Jack was never one to sit still, and these family trips adopted his “move and learn” style of travel; never staying in one place for very long and attempting to absorb everything possible in each visit. On these trips, Jack first set out to see every state capital in the contiguous United States and, that goal achieved, Jack then endeavored to run the track at every university the family came across. This led to what Jack’s family believes must be the most impressive collection of university-based t-shirts held by a single individual.
Jack’s focus on his career and the Lansing community grew. He began to build relationships with Michigan State athletes, and became an adviser to several as they embarked on their professional sports careers. As many of his clients have observed, Jack’s legal practice transcended mere representation. Jack became an advocate and friend for many, becoming that go-to person to whom people turned and their trusted ally when facing some of the biggest challenges of their lives. Jack’s objective became helping out and giving back to the community he loved.
Jack devoted considerable time to making mid-Michigan a stronger region, through service to education, economic development, and the arts. As the Chair of the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce, Jack teamed with former mayor David Hollister to create and lead the Blue Ribbon Committee to Keep General Motors (GM). After months of research, problem-solving, collaboration, and negotiations, the Committee convinced GM to stay in Lansing, and GM built three new plants in the region over the next seven years.
Jack has continued to focus on the economic development of the region. He was actively involved in the Rotary Club of Lansing, recently serving as its President. He chaired the Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) and was on the Foundation Board for Lansing Promise. Jack also followed in his father’s footsteps, assuming a leadership role over the years at Congregation Shaarey Zedek. Jack and Susan supported numerous local nonprofits, including the Boys & Girls Club of Lansing, where Jack played a leadership role, and Fenner Nature Center. The couple were awarded the Outstanding Philanthropist Award in 2012 by the Capital Region Community Foundation.
Jack had a zest for life and was a collector at heart. He derived great joy from capturing his life experiences through memorabilia. He relished reliving life’s milestones through saved videos or a simple memento in his home or office. He surrounded himself with tokens and keepsakes from his travels and accomplishments – such as the flags from his 30+ DALMAC trips, trophies from his law firm softball team victories, photographs of family gatherings, and helmets from the numerous groundbreakings he attended.
Jack served on several international delegations to advise government leaders on trade and international tax matters for the development of a free market economy. This sparked a keen interest in travel, taking Jack and Susan to such exotic locations as Australia/New Zealand, Bhutan, Brazil, China, Cuba, Egypt, India, Israel, Japan, Morocco, Russia, South Africa, Central and Southeast Asia, and South Korea.
In recent years, Jack’s full work schedule was complemented by cycling trips on the back roads of central Michigan and golfing with friends. He also continued to support the community in new ways, including serving on the Board of Advisors for the MSU Broad Museum.
For Jack’s most recent birthday, the family gathered in New York City to see a few broadway shows and have a celebratory dinner at 21 Club. This was one of Jack’s favorite traditions, as his father and mother frequented the 21 Club and it held a special place in Jack’s heart.
Jack will be missed by all who knew him. He is survived by his loving wife Susan; his children, Gregory (Amy) and Jennifer (William); his loving grandchildren, Lauren and Benjamin Davis and Audrey and Henry Martin; and his loving brother Gary (Sharon).