When Jack Davis, a native Georgian, who had been a long time resident of Westchester County with Madison Avenue connections, moved to St. Simons Island, he became enveloped in outdoor options which sang to his heart.
He liked golf and there were plenty of courses about for that. He never tired of Southern barbecue, and he could find an abundance of that all over the Golden Isles. He loved the Hampton River which would take him out to the Intercostal and up to the Two Way Fish Camp where the down home fishermen and railbirds were the spice of conversational life. That was an enduring experience. He bought a boat. Taking guests up to Two Way for lunch had him as jacked as a Georgia football game, which was the nearest thing to heaven-on-earth for this talented cartoonist who was regarded far and wide. His New York connections were as diverse as a small town druggist, except his connections were of the Big Time.
Life was good when you had good experiences, and nobody enjoyed the simple things in life more than Jack Davis, who on a moment’s notice, could whip out a drawing that would have hearts warming and souls enriching with overwhelming affection.
Jack Davis and his work were like that contour bottle of Cola-Cola.
It was just right … leaving you wanting more. Those with creative talent do work that resonates. Jack’s art thrilled Dawg fans like Herschel Walker’s scoring on long touchdown runs—unforgettable.
This was a man who made other people happy. He was a UGA treasure. He ranks up there with Sinkwich, Trippi, Herschel, Munson, Dooley, Tarkenton, Sapp and the hedges themselves. Dawg fans swooned to his art just as he swooned to a pre-game tailgate party. A Georgia sweater on a balmy autumn day, bloody Mary in hand the band playing those songs again … like Hail to Georgia Down in Dixie, one of his favorite tunes.
Jack always wanted to go back to Athens town. When he returned home, he took a piece of the lore and tradition with him—Varsity hot dogs and Poss barbecue, a tie from Dick Ferguson’s and a game program which stirred his emotions when one of them reflected a piece of his artwork. When any of his art, featuring UGA and the Bulldogs, was acclaimed in any medium, it made him proud. While he was a selfless, egoless man, it was a source of pride for him to create art for his beloved alma mater.
A sentimentalist, Jack was given to adding his daughter Katy’s name in his Bulldog drawings, inconspicuously, but you could find them in the shoelaces and the bandages on the football character’s appendages. He was a doting grandfather and a Great American. What does it take to be a Great American. You don’t have to get elected a Senator or President. You don’t have to be a scion of industry or Wall Street. You don’t have to invent a machine that revolutionizes life or society. You don’t have to win a Pulitzer prize or a Nobel prize.
All you have to do is be a good citizen, honor faith, flag and family; Contribute to your community, give of yourself to your family and alma mater, make people smile and enjoy life in modest doses. Jack was a great American and a Damn Good Dawg.
Jack was a celebrity, but you wouldn’t know it by his words or deeds. Once when he was honored by the University of Georgia Football Chapter of the National Football Foundation, he was seated at the head table with the iconic Charley Trippi. He couldn’t get over his good fortune.
Trippi’s time was Jack’s time. Although Jack got to campus after Trippi had gone on to the National Football League, he remembered Charley from his high school days and the sensation that Trippi caused in college football. He recalled many of the heroics of the Georgia legend during his heyday between the hedges with relish and reverence.
For Jack, that was a watershed moment—to be seated by his hero at a dinner. Georgia was honoring Jack Davis, but he was doubly honored. That was an emotional highlight of his life.
The greatest of sentimentalists, he was overwhelmed by one particular gift. Nike in the eighties produced a shoe for Georgia that had D. O. G. S. imprinted on the heel. Jack almost came to tears when I gave him a pair of those shoes.
The next art work he sent to Athens included a note: “Hey man I wear my Dog shoes every day. He would often call and say, “Man I got my Dog shoes on.”
Jack was a modest man. He was an altruistic man, a humble man and a caring and giving man. Now that he has moved on to those hedges in the sky, he would be proud that his doting family chose to send him on his heavenly journey, wearing his Dog shoes.
Jack Davis was a Great Dawg and a Great American.