The Obit For Bill Davis

William E. Davis

Published in the Pensacola News Journal from 4/24/2008 - 4/25/2008.


William Elvin "Bill" Davis, Sr., legendary sheriff of Escambia County, Florida, exchanged his earthly body for his heavenly one on April 22, 2008 after a long and very courageous fight against Alzheimer's Disease.

He graduated from Catholic High School in 1945, graduated from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College (Perkingston Campus) in 1948, and the Florida Police Academy in 1951.

He excelled in baseball and football while attending Catholic High School and Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.

In 2001, he was voted into the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Athletic Hall of Fame. He played semi-professional baseball for the Fitzgerald, GA Pioneers, and the Cincinnati Reds in Columbia, SC. He also played for the Pensacola Fighting Alumni (baseball) and the Pensacola Flyers (football). He was a member of the National Association of Professional Baseball Players.

He was a third generation law enforcement officer with Escambia County, FL, starting as a Deputy Sheriff in 1951. He was shot in the line of duty in 1954 during an incident involving a barricaded suspect. In 1960, he was elected Sheriff of Escambia County. When elected at the age of 33, he was the youngest Sheriff ever elected in the state of Florida. He was re-elected for an additional two terms.

During his tenure as Sheriff, he recognized the importance of maintaining an open line of communication with the public he served.

Some of the many accomplishments as Sheriff, he established the first of several programs such as the K-9 Unit, Marine Unit, Mobile Crime Scene Unit, Juvenile Division and the first School Safety Program. He opened Sub-Stations in Century and Pensacola Beach. He also established a Mounted Parade Posse entertaining many
during local parades.

For many years, he assisted Father John Lacarri during the days of "Bellview Junction" performing Western Shootouts during "St. Ann's Roundup". He was active in many civic and charitable organizations including the Ensley Masonic Lodge, Rotary Club and Shiner's Temple. He coached little league softball and baseball, was very active with orphaned and disadvantaged children where he maintained a mini-ranch to which he invited these and other children to interact with the animals having picnics and hayrides, and he founded the West Pensacola Volunteer Fire Department.

Following his tenure as Sheriff, he opened the Branding Iron Steak and Lobster Ranch Restaurant, which he operated until 1975, and in 1984 he owned and operated Davis Investigations, a private Investigative Firm. In 1987 he owned Pine Forest Adult Elderly Care Facility.
He is preceded in death by his son, Kevin Davis, his father and mother Roland E and Winnie A Davis, his brothers Roland Davis Jr., and Otis Davis, and his sisters Betty Raby and Martha Pinnese.

He is survived by his loving wife Linda, his son William E Davis Jr, (Sandy), his daughters Sally Spencer (Randy), Ramona Szuch (Kenny), Karen Gray (Kevin), Paula Porto (Kerry) and "a very special daughter" Vera Allen and their mother Effie Davis. Grandfather "PawPaw" to Summer and Todd King, Devin and Jill Spencer, William E Davis III (Trey), Alana Davis, Sarajane Szuch, Harrison Szuch, Georgia Szuch, Logan Szuch, Caroline Szuch, and Preston Szuch, Bruce Padilla, II, Katelynn Porto, Mitchell Porto, and Annamarie Porto. He was Great-Grandfather to Courtney, Kaylee, and Kenna King, Isabella, Tyler and Elizabeth Spencer. He is also survived by his sisters, Barbara NeSmith (Buddy) and Janie Seibert (Malcolm).

Funeral services will be held at 10:00 Friday, April 25, 2008 at Faith Chapel Funeral Home North-Cantonment, FL, with the Reverend William C. Heiden officiating. Interment will follow at Beulah Cemetery.
Serving, as pallbearers will be Members of the Escambia County Sheriff's Office Honor Guard. Honorary pallbearers will be Gene Cook, Lonnie Stone, Ray Wheat and Stan Friedman.

The family will receive friends at the funeral home on Thursday, April 24, 2008 from 5:00pm until 8:00pm.
The family wishes to express special appreciation to the staff of the Specialty Center of Pensacola for the kind and loving care given to Bill during his stay, and to Covenant Hospice for their compassion and diligence during his last days.

Faith Chapel Funeral Home North 1000 Highway 29 South Cantonment is in charge of arrangements.