Lois L. Davis 1927-2021
It is with the utmost sorrow that we announce that Lois L. Davis (nee Dutton), age 94, died on Wednesday, November 24th, 2021 with her daughter Leigh at her side. Lois was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1927 to Willard L. and Gertrude Dutton. She was raised in Milwaukee and later Madison, attending Wisconsin High.
She earned a BA in Sociology at the University of Wisconsin and it was there she began fostering her love of the visual arts. Lois and her future husband Bob were classmates and friends at Wisconsin High, and then the University. In college they even went on double dates, but not as a couple! Before graduation, they realized they were meant to be together.
Married in 1952, the couple moved to Ann Arbor to pursue Sociology graduate degrees at the University of Michigan. Lois and Bob both worked for the Survey Research Center there while completing their degrees, an MA and PhD respectively. Around 1960, Bob got a position teaching at what was then Case Institute of Technology and the couple moved to the Cleveland area, eventually settling in Cleveland Heights in 1965.
All her life, Lois strove to improve the world around her by promoting education and the arts, as well as volunteering for many worthy causes. Closer to home, she always taught Leigh the importance of putting herself in other people's shoes. In the 1960s, she volunteered with the Cleveland Chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality and later with Heights Community Congress which works to ensure fair housing practices.
Once her daughter began school, Lois joined the local PTA, eventually rising to lead the district PTA Council, where, in addition to her work, she famously wrote many parody songs for their annual skit. She also helped start V.A.R.P., a program bringing visiting artists into the schools, an endeavor in which she was ahead of her time. She was active in the Women's Council of the Cleveland Museum of Art, volunteering at the information desk and marching in costume several times in Parade the Circle. One year, Lois and Leigh marched together as 2 of 100 Marilyn Monroes.
Lois pursued her interest in making artwork, eventually attending the Cleveland Institute of Art in the 1960s where she caused a stir as an older, married, nontraditional student. In later years, she returned to her passion and took classes in watercolor and acrylic painting, both locally and at workshops in South Carolina. Lois exhibited her art at many local venues including in the Barbara Luton Art Competition, the Fairmount Center for the Arts, Hillcrest Art Guild, Valley Art Center, ARTreach at Trinity Cathedral and recently had a solo retrospective of her work in watercolor and collage at Loganberry Books' Annex Gallery.
Lois and Bob had a happy 47-year marriage, a true partnership. Lois was also a dedicated and loving mother whose bond with Leigh, her only child, was extremely special.
Lois was preceded in death by her parents, her husband Robert C. Davis, and many dear friends and relatives.
She is mourned by her daughter Leigh C. Davis, her son-in-law Richard B. Rynes, her first cousin Alida Smith and family, along with close friends.
A tree dedication and memorial will be held in the Spring, details forthcoming. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Cleveland Institute of Art,
Heights Arts, or any local art or education organization.