R.P. Davis, Sr.

Obituary of R.P. Stephen Davis, Sr.

R. P. Stephen Davis, 93, of Chapel Hill and formerly of Charlotte, NC, died at The Cedars of Chapel Hill on October 28, 2019.


Steve was preceded in death by his wife Lucy Whitehead Davis of Charlotte, his sister Julia Leonard of Lexington, his brother Jay Davis of Webster, FL, and his sister Bettie Lefevers of Charlotte. He is survived by his daughters Lucy Carol Davis and Nancy Davis of Chapel Hill, his son Steve Davis, Jr., of Chapel Hill, and his son Roman Davis of Charlotte. He is survived also by eight grandchildren—Lauren Davis Chase, Shaw Cross, Parker Emmerson, Sarah Davis, Elizabeth Cross Rector, Hannah Davis O’Connor, Stephanie Davis, and Hayden Davis—and two great grandchildren—Tolliver and Rama Emmerson.


Steve was born on September 18, 1926, in Point Pleasant, WV, to Jasper and Ruth Davis. He grew up in Western North Carolina, where his father was a civil engineer on the construction of the Blue Ridge Parkway. He was class president at Appalachian High School (’43) and entered Chapel Hill’s Navy Pre-Flight program during World War II. Then he paved his way through school with the G.I. Bill and his entrepreneurial panache, selling sandwiches and nylon stockings door-to-door, and received his Bachelor of Science in Commerce at UNC in 1949. At UNC, Steve also met his future wife, Lucy.


Steve remained a loyal, lifetime supporter of his alma mater. After a period working as a salesman for Dillard Paper Co., he started his own business, Carolina Paper Co., in the 1960s.  As an entrepreneur and product inventor, he also created several other businesses, including Parker Davis Co., where he invented the ubiquitous StepStake sign-holder and remained chairman until his death. He is a past president of both the Southeastern Paper Trade Association and the Professional Construction Estimators Association of America.


Steve was a remarkable, honorable man with great integrity and loyalty to his family, friends, and business associates. He was an Eagle Scout, recipient of the Silver Beaver award, and a lifelong Scouter. His Scouting principles and Christian faith fundamentally shaped the way he lived his life, including in his charitable acts. (He was a Carolina baseball scholarship sponsor, and sponsored and wrote letters to children around the world.)


During his leisure time, Steve was a world-traveler, avid Tar Heel, and lover of animals, including his childhood pet pig and cats and dogs throughout the years.


He was well-respected by those who were blessed to know him.


Visitation will be Friday night, November 1, from 6-8 pm at 821 Indian Springs Rd., Chapel Hill.  Funeral arrangements are incomplete.


In lieu of flowers, the family requests that any donations be made to ChildFund International, 2821 Emerywood Parkway, Richmond, VA, 23294.  www.childfund.org/Ways-To-Donate/, or to the charity of your choice.


Walker's Funeral Home of Chapel Hill has been entrusted to care for the Davis family.  

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