Yale '62 - Obituaries - Richard Slaton Davis

Richard Slaton Davis

Born: November 24, 1940
Died: September 14, 1982

Dick Davis was born in Atlanta, Georgia and entered Yale from Marist College Preparatory School in Atlanta. Dick was a Philosophy Honors major, on the Dean's List and a Ranking Scholar. He was a member of Pierson College. He was captain of Pierson football, president of the German Club, in the Photographic Society and a member of the Outing and Fishing Clubs.

After his graduation Dick studied at Emory University in Atlanta where he was a Woodrow Wilson Fellow, engaged in teaching at Marist Prep and elsewhere, spent a year in film producing and then obtained his Ph.D. from Washington University. He taught at the University of Tennessee, University of Pittsburgh, and Indiana University. In 1973 he moved to Bar Harbor, Maine and joined the faculty of the College of the Atlantic. Together with his wife Norah Deakin Davis, he built one of Maine's first active solar homes.

At the College of the Atlantic Dick taught courses in ethics, metaphysics and epistemology. At the time of his death he was Acting Vice President for Academic Affairs at the College.

Dick's primary professional interest was to develop an ecological value theory and to formulate the conceptional foundations for the scientific studies of value. He shared a deep concern for many environmental and ethical issues including nuclear energy and the threat of nuclear war. He was active in the National Peace Movement and sponsored many peace activities at the College and at Mt. Desert Island, Maine. He was a founder and Director of the Coastal Resource Center in Bar Harbor, Maine, consultant to Maine Public Television and served for several years as Chairman of the Maine Council for the Humanities and Public Policy. He was survived by his wife Norah. They had no children. Dick died suddenly on September 14, 1982, at the age of 41 having only recently retuned from a week long trip along the Allagash with a group of students.

Following his death, Dick Davis was remembered by classmate Dan Kane, himself since deceased, as Alfred North Whitehead's chief spokesman and apologist while an undergraduate. After he located in Maine, Dan reported, Dick organized a series of weekend canoe trips which he titled "Unorthodox Seminars on Whitehead and White Water." In Dan's words, "Dick exemplified those qualities that Whitehead identified as the fundamental underlying concepts of civilization: Truth, beauty, adventure, art and peace." Donations were made in Dick's memory to the College of the Atlantic, Bar Harbor, Maine.