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John Spencer Davis Sr., 85; Investment Banker at D.C. Firms

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

John Spencer Davis Sr., 85, an investment banker in Washington for more than 50 years, died June 15 of complications from a stroke in East Hampton, N.Y. He was a resident of Washington and East Hampton until he began living in East Hampton full time in 2003.

He was driving and was in a one-car accident near a tennis court in East Hampton when he died, a son said.

Mr. Davis was born in Nanking, now known as Nanjing, China, where his father, John Ker Davis, served as U.S. consul general. At 6, Mr. Davis, along with his parents and older sister, escaped during the 1927 nationalist uprising in China. He spent his childhood in Korea, Poland, Norway, England and other places while his father served as a diplomat. He developed a lifelong passion for skiing while attending school in Seattle.

Just before graduating from Princeton University in 1943 and enlisting in the Navy during World War II, Mr. Davis took a trip to Washington. There he met Sarah Kimball, whom he married a few months later.

He served for more than two years on LST-693, a tank landing ship, in the South Pacific. He survived without injuries a direct hit from a kamikaze at the Battle of Leyte Gulf and the post-surrender typhoon that came close to sinking the entire U.S. Pacific Fleet.

After the war, he and his wife settled in Washington, where he began working for several investment companies. He retired from Morgan Stanley as senior vice president at 80.

Mr. Davis belonged to the Army and Navy Club, the Columbia Country Club and Chevy Chase Club, and he enjoyed golf, tennis and paddle tennis. He won the Middle Atlantic Championship in badminton and numerous club golf and paddle tennis tournaments.

He also became an avid flier, earning his instrument and commercial pilot's licenses so he could fly his twin-engine Cessna 310 to East Hampton or Vermont almost every weekend and holiday. He also loved sports and cars.

In 1960, the Davises purchased a house in East Hampton and were members of the Maidstone Club there for more than 50 years. They enjoyed the ocean and dancing.

In addition to his wife of 63 years, survivors include three sons, John Spencer "Jock" Davis Jr. of Alexandria, Christopher Kimball Davis of Moss Beach, Calif., and Tracy Tucker Davis of East Hampton; and four grandchildren.

-- Yvonne Shinhoster Lamb


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