Other Notable Deaths

September 20, 2007

LLOYD DAVIS, 79 Aided King's widow

Lloyd Davis, who worked with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s widow to build Atlanta's King Center and establish the holiday honoring the civil rights leader, died of cancer Monday in Chevy Chase.

A longtime federal housing official, he came to the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change about 1980 as executive vice president and chief operating officer, working alongside Coretta Scott King to maintain her husband's legacy.

Later, he was executive director of the federal King Holiday Commission.

Mr. Davis helped Coretta Scott King plan the building of the center and helped her to get Congress to establish the King National Historic Site.

In 1983, after President Ronald Reagan established the King federal holiday, Mr. Davis became executive director of the King Holiday Commission to promote, oversee and raise money for the observance.

It was officially celebrated for the first time at the federal level Jan. 20, 1986.

As the commission's executive director, Mr. Davis worked to get the holiday legally observed in all 50 states.

Before coming to the King Center, Mr. Davis worked for the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, helping press for fair housing and minority business development, his family said.

LOUIS J. WILLIE JR., 84 Defused racial dispute

Louis J. Willie Jr., a black businessman who helped defuse a racial dispute surrounding the 1990 PGA Championship by becoming an honorary member at the all-white Shoal Creek club, has died.

His death Sunday night was confirmed by Booker T. Washington Insurance, the company for whom Mr. Willie worked as an executive. He had Alzheimer's disease.

Shoal Creek Country Club, in suburban Birmingham, Ala. was the site of the 1990 PGA Championship.

Protests mounted after the club president said Shoal Creek would not be pressured into accepting black members. Mr. Willie helped quiet the situation by accepting an offer of honorary membership.

Afterward, the Professional Golf Association and other golf groups said they would no longer hold tournaments at clubs that did not have minorities or women as members.

An advertising executive became Shoal Creek's first dues-paying black member in 1996.

Mr. Willie was a close adviser to the late A.G. Gaston, a black businessman in Birmingham who became a self-made millionaire during the Jim Crow era despite laws mandating segregation.

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