Gary Davis, Candidate in HD 60 Race, Dies Suddenly

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(APN) ATLANTA — Gary “PeeWee” Davis, an advocate for the less fortunate and candidate for the State House District 60 seat, has died, Atlanta Progressive News has learned.

Davis, 36, was not aware that he had kidney failure until he went to the emergency room with complications, according to his mother, Deborah Davenport.

Davis was one of four challengers who was running against incumbent State Rep. Keisha Waites (D-Atlanta) in a recently redrawn district.  It was Davis’s first time running for public office.

At a funeral service held this weekend, Davis’s many extraordinary accomplishments were shared by a number of impassioned speakers including Atlanta Councilwoman Carla Smith (District 1).

Davis, who was legally blind, still managed to be a community activist.  Davis served as Director of Community and Social Services at Bible Way Ministries church.

Davis had fifteen percent vision in one eye and no vision in the other eye, Davenport told APN.

“You would have to know him to understand.  How he managed to do it, he just did it.  He came up with all kinds of ideas of things – he was unstoppable,” Davenport said.

“He’s always been that type of person.  People would call.  He would have his goddaughter… research online and make a list of resources.  He would make them make it into big print.  He had a good memory, he would memorize the numbers,” Davenport said.

Recently, a homeless family had come to Davis needing housing.  “A young lady with nine kids were staying in an extended stay hotel.  He bought a house, he fixed that house up, the young lady just moved in.  Those types of things – he took his last money, if somebody needed something, or he would raise the money.”

He is partially credited with successfully lobbying to keep the Thomasville Heights Elementary School open, one of the schools that were spared in the recent series of closures of Atlanta Public Schools.  

And he is also credited with a successful lobbying effort directed at Councilwoman Smith, which resulted in sidewalks being installed on Constitution Road in Southeast Atlanta.

In addition, he served as President of the Norwood Manor Civic Association and as Chaplain to Neighborhood Planning Unit Z.

“I did attend his service,” State Rep. Waites told APN.

“I was deeply moved by the number of people who attended the service and had amazing things to say.  It left me with a charge to go beyond anything I’ve ever done, because if this man could do all these things while being ill, certainly I could get off my rocker and do more,” Waites said.

“I am honored, and I am humbled and privileged to have shared the ballot with him,” Waites said.

“We had a tremendous loss in my community,” Waites said, adding that, upon reflection, she concluded, “There’s greatness among us and we don’t even know it because they don’t look like what we think they’re supposed to look like.”

According to a notice placed by the family with Legacy.com, surviving family members include his mother; two brothers, Martineus Anderson (Shannon) and Simyeon Davis; three sisters, Delicia Heard (Willie), Tiffany Davenport and Franchesca Davenport; three adopted sisters, Joan Pope, Ruby Pope Jones (Quardrell) and Monica Parrott (Jimmy); his stepfather, Cedric Davenport; grandmother, Marion Watkins Cheek (Tilford); grandfather, Leland H. Beach; great-grandmother, Maud Watkins Willis; one uncle, Willie M. Burnett (Evelyn); three god sisters, Juerita Caruthers, Brandi Coleman and Chakeitha “Toosie Cat” Weldon; nine godchildren; and a host of aunts, nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends, “whom he loved so dearly.”

Four candidates remain in the HD 60 race, including Rep. Waites, as well as William Fisher, Antonio Lewis, and LaTrenka Riley.

According to Jared Thomas, spokesman for Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, Davis’s name will appear on the ballot because ballots have already been printed; however, he is not a candidate and any votes for him will not count.  The State had already been advised that Davis had died, but they had not been able to confirm it with Fulton County as of yet.  However, the State has reached out to the Democratic Party of Georgia, which had qualified him for the July 31 ballot, regarding the matter.  Absentee ballots that are sent out at this point will include notices to voters and the same notices will be available at early voting locations and at Election Day voting locations.

(END/2012)

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