Frederick J. Davis Sr., 93

Navy veteran, retired banker was avid sailor, cook and clockmaker

April 04, 2007|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,sun reporter

Frederick J. Davis Sr., a retired banker who enjoyed winemaking and woodworking, died Friday of complications from a broken hip at his Bel Air home. He was 93.

Mr. Davis was born in Baltimore and raised on East 28th Street and in Hamilton. He attended City College until leaving to help support his family during the Depression.

He began his banking career in 1929 as a runner for Mercantile Bank & Trust Co., and later rose to teller and loan officer.

In 1942, he enlisted in the Navy and served as a chief in naval communications in Washington and Hawaii. He was discharged in 1946 and recalled to duty during the Korean War.

While in the service, he met and married the former Catherine "Bunny" Goettelmann, who was a Navy WAVE (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) in 1945.

After the war, Mr. Davis returned to Mercantile and in 1950, left to take a job as cashier at the Kingsville Bank, which was later taken over by the Union Trust Co. He was a vice president of the bank at the time of his 1978 retirement.

Since the early 1970s, Mr. Davis had been a licensed ham radio operator.

"His call letters were WB3DLV -- `Daddy Loves Vicki,'" said his daughter, Vicki Davis Cone of Annapolis.

Mr. Davis enjoyed sailing the Bush River and Chesapeake Bay aboard the Reel Gone II, his 32-foot Trojan cabin cruiser.

An accomplished soup maker, Mr. Davis was known for his crab, potato, split pea and lentil soups, his daughter said.

"He made his crab soup from a secret recipe," Mrs. Cone said.

Mr. Davis enjoyed stocking his cellar with wines he made from peaches, apricots and plums.

"They were very sweet wines, and he liked drinking plum wine. However, he only drank on holidays. He wasn't a wine connoisseur but liked drinking what he had made," Mrs. Cone said.

Mr. Davis liked woodworking and clockmaking.

"He had made table clocks from a birch tree for family members. He always wanted to make a grandfather clock but had no place to put it," his daughter said.

Mr. Davis was a longtime member of the First Presbyterian Church in Bel Air, where he had served as treasurer for 11 years.

"He was known as a gentle man who was always smiling and only had good things to say about people. He was always well thought of and remembered fondly," said the Rev. Richard J. Link, the church's pastor.

"He had a gentle nature and loved to write poetry, garden and raise tomatoes. I remember going to his home to sit on his deck and look at nature and then being sent home with a big bag of tomatoes from his garden," Mr. Link said.

A memorial service will be held at 4 p.m. tomorrow at the McComas Funeral Home, 50 West Broadway, Bel Air.

Also surviving are two sons, Frederick J. "Dave" Davis Jr. and G. Scott Davis, both of Bel Air; five grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com

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