COLUMBIA — Dr. David Davis was a Renaissance man.
He was a doctor. Traveler. Psychiatrist. Published poet. Professor. Eulogist. Bookbinder. Artist. Torah commentator. Hypnotist. Award-winning photographer. And musician — to name a few.
Dr. David Davis died March 31, 2011, in his Manhattan, N.Y. apartment. He was 83.
He was born in 1927 in the slums of Glasgow, Scotland. Despite coming from humble beginnings, he had many passions.
“He never thought he would go anywhere,” Jeremy Davis, his son, said.
But Dr. Davis followed his dreams when he came to America on a Fulbright Scholarship after he received his medical degree from the University of Glasgow and became a certified psychologist.
After arriving in the United States, he eventually began his teaching career in Columbia at MU and joined the university’s psychology department during its infancy. Dr. Davis was the department’s second member after his friend and colleague, Dr. James Weiss, MU’s first psychology department chair, invited him to the department as co-chairman.
Dr. Davis was a professor emeritus at the University of Missouri School of Medicine and taught and practiced psychiatry there for more than 40 years. Columbia became home during that time.
“He never stopped being grateful for the opportunities he was given,” Jeremy Davis said. “He also kept a good humor about where life was taking him.”
While Dr. Davis was an expert in medicine and psychology, Jeremy Davis said his father believed in another important element he practiced and taught in his classroom.
“Compassion was the other side of the coin,” Jeremy Davis said. “That was really his message.”
When he wasn’t teaching, Dr. Davis would peruse auctions in Columbia and turn junk into something useful around his Columbia home. Clarinets became lamps. Old tools became pictures.
And during his 45 years in Columbia, Dr. Davis never forgot his Scottish heritage. He would march around his home in a kilt blaring his bagpipes.
“He would do it with great joy because he knew it drove people crazy,” Jeremy Davis said.
But while Columbia was his home, he moved with his wife of 59 years, Phyllis, to New York three years ago, to live in an apartment just a few blocks from two of his sons.
Jeremy Davis said his father passed on many of his passions to his three sons, particularly writing, education and compassion.
“He looked forward to life,” Jeremy Davis said.
Dr. Davis is survived by his wife, Phyllis Burman; three sons, Jonathan, Jeremy and Timothy; three daughters-in-law, Marguerite, Lois and Barbara; and five grandchildren Corey, Olivia, Ruby, Alexander and Sara.