J. Edward Davis, 65, Towson lawyer, general counsel to state workers' union

November 04, 1997|By Fred Rasmussen | Fred Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

J. Edward Davis, founder of a Towson law firm and general counsel to the Maryland Classified Employees Association for many years, died of a heart attack Sunday at his vacation home in Ocean City. He was 65 and lived in Towson.

A dapper dresser and cigar aficionado, Mr. Davis brought equal vigor and enthusiasm to the practice of law and life and was considered a model attorney.

Associates described him as "boisterous, outgoing and incredibly good with people" and said his clients often became lifelong friends.

"He was such a credit to the legal profession that all lawyers should be like Ed Davis," Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr. said yesterday. "He was fair and competent and always a strong advocate for state employees."

"Ed Davis was not only a great lawyer but one very, very, very decent human being," said Administrative Judge Joseph H. H. Kaplan of Baltimore City Circuit Court, a friend for more than 30 years.

"He lived the law and not many lawyers live the law these days. He thought the practice of law was the greatest thing you could do because you were helping people and your community."

Mr. Davis favored three-piece suits, shirts with French cuffs worn with the links from his collection, and a pocket watch and gold chain.

He was seldom without his humidor, which contained fine handmade and Cuban cigars.

He would carefully select a cigar and then invite a lawyer to accompany him on a stroll around Towson to discuss cases.

"His cigars were thought mechanisms. You could almost see his mind working the moment he lit it," said Thomas P. Lydon, an attorney at Mr. Davis' firm since 1991.

"He loved being a lawyer and had a high regard for legal ethics and personal integrity. A man of great collegiality, his philosophy was that 'lawyers should solve problems, not create them,' " Mr. Lydon said.

Born and raised on Montford Avenue in East Baltimore, Mr. Davis graduated from Loyola High School in 1950 and Loyola College in 1954.

After serving two years in the Army, he earned a law degree from the University of Maryland School of Law in 1959.

He was a former assistant United States attorney from 1962 to 1964 when he joined the firm of Weinberg and Green. In 1985, he established his firm, Davis & Associates.

In 1971, he was appointed by Gov. Marvin Mandel as general counsel to the state Public Service Commission. He was general counsel for MCEA and also for Cable Telecommunications Association of Maryland, Delaware and the District of Columbia, an industry group.

Mr. Davis was a member of the Towson Elks.

A fixture on the beaches of Ocean City and especially the U.S. 50 bridge, he often would fish for 12 hours at a time.

He was a communicant of Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church, Baltimore and Ware avenues in Towson, where a memorial Mass will be offered at 10 a.m. Thursday.

He is survived by his wife of 42 years, the former Mary Joel Engh; three sons, Bradley D. Davis of Ocean City, Christopher H. Davis of Baltimore and Joseph E. T. Davis of Pittsburgh; two daughters, Mary-Michele Davis of Ocean City and Mary Denise Davis of Towson; two sisters, Dolores Kelly of Baltimore and Olivia Lee Maher of Red Lion, Pa.; and three grandchildren.

Pub Date: 11/04/97

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