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Published: Friday, 8/22/2014

Eugene Davis: 1915-2014; WWII vet worked 50 years at Blade

Davis Davis

Eugene J. Davis, 99, who worked in The Blade’s composing room for half of the 20th century and served his church and credit union, died Tuesday in Franciscan Care Center, Sylvania, where he lived the last 10 months.

Mr. Davis of South Toledo had dementia and congestive heart failure, said his wife, Hannah.

He retired in early 1998 from The Blade, where he’‍d worked since August, 1948. In the days of hot-metal typesetting machines, he evaluated prospective ads to determine what fonts and sizes they should be set in based on the layout, said Dave Georgia, who worked with him as a printer and later supervised him as a shift foreman.

“He was one of the most pleasant guys,” Mr. Georgia said. “I never saw the guy angry the entire time I knew him. He was low key and did his job.”

Mr. Davis was a proofreader for many years, checking articles and advertisements word by word, line by line to make sure the newspaper was error-free.

“He felt he was learning something every day,” his wife said. “The children could not understand why he would not retire. He said, ‘‍I love my job.’‍ That tells it all.”

His son Jim said: “He liked it because it was different every day. It kept him stimulated, and he enjoyed that. Dad was a very smart guy.”

For decades, Mr. Davis was on the board of what was then called the Blade Federal Credit Union.

“That was Gene. He was always involved in something where he felt he was doing something that was positive,” his wife said.

He was a 62-year member of Our Lady of Perpetual Help parish. For more than 40 years he was an usher at 10 a.m. Sunday Mass.

He was born June 3, 1915, in Little Falls, N.Y. He was 14 when his father died, and his mother chose him, the second oldest of eight, to help take care of the family.

“He was a strong individual,” his wife said.

He was an Army veteran of World War II — he built air strips while in an engineer aviation battalion in India. Afterward, he attended Marshall University.

He and his wife played bridge with friends, and he last played tennis at age 89.

Surviving are his wife, Hannah Davis, whom he married Nov. 26, 1947; sons, Jim and the Rev. Mark Davis, who is pastor of St. Aloysius Church, Bowling Green; daughter, Nancy Stevens; sisters, Dixie Spencer and Garry McLean; two grandchildren, and five step-grandchildren.

Visitation will be from 3-8 p.m. today in the Coyle Funeral Home. Services will be at 10 a.m. Saturday in Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church.

The family suggests tributes to the church or the Eugene and Hannah Davis scholarship fund at St. John’‍s Jesuit High School.

Contact Mark Zaborney at: mzaborney@theblade.com or 419-724-6182.

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