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Thomas J. Davis, retired elementary school principal in Amherst

July 11, 1922 – March 20, 2016

Thomas J. Davis, of Williamsville, retired principal of Harlem Road Elementary School in Amherst, died Sunday in Elderwood at Williamsville after a long illness. He was 93.

Born in Buffalo, he was a graduate of South Park High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in education in 1942 from Buffalo State Teachers College, where he was president of Delta Kappa fraternity.

He taught for a semester in Webster, then was drafted into the Army. He taught in the Army’s Literacy Unit at Fort Ontario during World War II. When that closed, he went to Fort Dix, N.J., where he helped process discharge papers for GIs returning from the war. He attained the rank of staff sergeant.

Returning from the service, Mr. Davis resumed teaching in Webster while he earned a master’s degree in administration from the University of Rochester. In 1951-51, he served as an assistant principal in the Irondequoit schools.

Mr. Davis joined the Amherst School District in 1952 and was supervising principal of the Harlem Road and Smallwood Drive elementary schools, retiring in 1978. The Amherst Alumni Association honored him as a Distinguished Emeritus Educator.

A 60-year member of the Amherst Central Lions Club, he received Lions International’s highest honor, the Melvin Jones Fellow Award.

He also sang for 60 years with the Amherst Male Glee Club in the Red Blazer Men’s Chorus and participated in its annual shows.

A longtime member of Christ United Methodist Church in Snyder, Mr. Davis enjoyed many summers in Maine in his cabin in the woods.

His first wife, of 38 years, the former Betty Walker, died in 1984. In 1985, he married the former Dorothy Flemming.

Surviving in addition to his wife are two daughters, Jan Davis Marshall and Susan Davis Belanger; a granddaughter, and two great-granddaughters.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. April 1 in Christ United Methodist Church, 350 Saratoga Road, Snyder.

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