Jackie L. Davis | Robinson Daily News
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Jackie L. Davis

Posted on June 6, 2022

Updated on June 8, 2022

Obituaries

Springfield, Nov. 15, 1946 - Ill. — Jun. 3, 2022'"Jack"' Jackie L. "Jack" Davis, 75, formerly of Flora, Robinson and Olney, passed away unexpectedly in his sleep on June 3, 2022, at his home in Springfield, Illinois.

He was born in Flora, Illinois on November 15, 1946, to Ishmael J. and Genell (Winchester) Davis. On March 1, 1975, he married Cynthia Jean Crew, who survives.

Jack proudly referred to himself "as just a Clay County boy." He lived and attended school in Flora, Illinois until his Father died in 1961, whereupon his mother moved her family to Vincennes, Indiana. For most of his years in High School, Jack was certainly not an Honor Roll student and was short of credits at the end of what he jokingly referred to as his "First Senior Year." He started his "Second Senior Year" in Vincennes, Indiana before dropping out of school to join the Army. After Basic Training, Jack volunteered to go to Vietnam and was assigned to the 18th Engineer Brigade. Unfortunately, in his first week "in country", he was exposed to Agent Orange while constructing a new landing strip where jungle had recently been defoliated by Agent Orange.

After his discharge from the Army in 1973, Jack moved to Robinson to attend Lincoln Trail College, where he met his future wife, Cindy. After graduation from Lincoln Trail College, both he and Cindy matriculated (one of Jack's favorite words) to Illinois State University and attended ISU for 1 year. Jack then re-enlisted in the Army and he and Cindy married. They were stationed at Ft. Knox, KY, followed by his third tour of Germany in West Berlin, East Germany.

While living in West Berlin, both Jack and Cindy completed baccalaureate degrees. Jack completed his B.S. from State University of New York at Albany, plus 2 graduate degrees, M.Ed. from University of Southern California, and M.S. from Peabody College of Education at Vanderbilt University. Jack became an extremely dedicated student and received all A's in his classes.

After Jack's Army enlistment ended in 1980, he and Cindy returned from West Berlin to Robinson, where Jack began his career with Illinois Eastern Community College District #529 as Director of Financial Aid at Lincoln Trail College, later moving from Administration to full-time faculty at LTC. In 1988, they relocated to Olney, where Jack was first assigned to the IECC District #529 District Office in Olney before transferring to Olney Central College. While serving as Dean of Instruction for 4 years at OCC, Jack decided to pursue a doctorate to enable himself to become a Community College President. Jack was a true "non-traditional student" in that when he began his doctoral degree at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 1998, he was 51 years old with 2 school age children, 18 years after he completed his 2 Masters degrees.

On July 1, 2002, Jack realized his dream and became OCC's 10th President.

Also in 2002, he proudly deposited his dissertation and was officially awarded his Ed.D. in May 2003 at the next scheduled UI-UC commencement ceremony.

Jack proudly served as President of Olney Central College for 8 years until retiring in June 2010 after 30 years of service with IECC District #529. On his actual retirement date, he was admitted to Siteman Cancer Center in St. Louis, MO to begin his over 6 month battle with Mantle Cell Lymphoma, undergoing 2 complete cycles of chemotherapy, both autologous and allogeneic stem cell transplants, and radiation.

He Is survived by his wife of 47 years, Cynthia J. Davis, Springfield IL; his son and daughter-in-law-law, Daniel J. and Emilia Davis, West Bloomfield, MI; and his daughter and son-in-law, Jessica L. and Froilan Perucho, Springfield, IL; grandchildren Gabriel Perucho, Springfield, IL; Eliza and Lara Davis, West Bloomfield, MI. He is also survived by his brothers and sisters-in-law, William Davis and Mary Ann Sinquimani, Summerfield, FL; Shelby and Jennifer Davis, Flora, IL; a sister-in-law, Sandra Ross, Oblong, IL.; several nieces and nephews and great-nieces and great-nephews.

Preceding him in death were his parents; stillborn son, Tyler Ross Davis; and three brothers, Curtis Ross, Joseph I. Davis, and Jim Ross.

A time of visitation will be from 6:00 - 8:00 P.M. Friday, June 10, 2022 at the Pulliam Funeral Home in Robinson, IL. Masonic services will be conducted by Robinson Masonic Lodge #250 at 7:30 P.M. A Celebration of Jack's Life will be on Saturday, June 11, 2022, at 10:30 A.M. at the funeral home and burial will follow in Robinson New Cemetery. Military graveside rites will be accorded by the combined units of E. M. Coulter Post #69, American Legion, VFW Post #4549 and AMVETS Post #33, all of Robinson.

Jack was especially proud that he served 8 years as President of Olney Central College, maintaining lasting friendships with OCC's amazing faculty and staff, even after relocating from Olney to Springfield. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions be made to the Olney Central College Foundation, with envelopes available at the funeral home.

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