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Columbia Missourian

Ronald Davidson was prankster, avid reader

By Sarah Harkins
August 15, 2012 | 7:07 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — When Ronald Davidson was a boy, he tricked his brother into grabbing a skunk by the tail.

David Davidson, his brother, laughs when he remembers Mr. Davidson. “He was always getting me into trouble,” he said, but he knew Mr. Davidson never meant harm.  “In a nutshell, he was a kind man,” he said.

Ronald Davidson of Columbia died Monday, Aug. 13, 2012. He was 72. 

He was born Dec. 2, 1939, to John Davidson and Ruby (McGrew) Davidson. Mr. Davidson was raised in a farmhouse in Columbia with his parents and siblings.

He remained in Columbia and worked as a custodian at MU until 2002 though he enjoyed traveling to McBaine on weekends.

Mike Grindstaff, a close friend, remembers visiting McBaine with Mr. Davidson to have cookouts or take hayrides. Grindstaff recalls that on one trip Mr. Davidson and others nailed a sleeping friend’s boots to the floor of their hunting shack before shouting, “Fire! Fire!”

“If anybody remembers Ronnie, they’ll remember he loved to laugh,” Grindstaff said. 

Grindstaff remembers another side to Mr. Davidson as well. “He was a very scheduled person, very methodical,” he said. 

Mr. Davidson prepared breakfast for himself every night, so he could arrive at work an hour early to have time to read. Grindstaff said Mr. Davidson went though two to three paperbacks per week and liked gardening and music. He enjoyed finding obscure country and western music from the 1950s and '60s and asking friends to guess the artists. 

Mr. Davidson is survived by his children, Donald and Tanzie Davidson; two brothers, David Davidson and Mike Sapp; and a sister, Donna Boutin. 

His parents, John Davidson and Ruby (McGrew) Sapp; his stepfather, Willis Sapp; his son, Ronald Davidson Jr.; and his sister, Patricia Sapp, died earlier.

Visitation will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at Liberty Baptist Church, 7461 N. Brown Station Road. Services will follow at the church. 

Condolences and tributes can be posted at

Supervising editor is Celia Darrough.