Joseph Will Davis
Joseph Will Davis
Memorial services for Joseph Will Davis, 71, West Plains, Missouri, will be held at 2:30 p.m., Saturday, March 4, 2023, at the First United Methodist Church, West Plains, Missouri with a visitation to follow in the fellowship hall.
Mr. Davis passed away Saturday, February 25, 2023, at his home, surrounded by his family.
Joe, the son of the late Hilliard and Elinore Davis, was born on September 18, 1951 in Springfield, Missouri. On May 22, 1976, Joe married Kathy his “Sweet Pea”, in Pocahontas, Arkansas, a union of forty-six years. The first thing they bought as a married couple was an aluminum canoe. This started their passion for adventure and travel together that led them near and far.
He is survived by his wife, Kathy; two children, Katie and Ty Davis; one granddaughter, Elinore “Nellie” Dudden; one brother, Dr. Michael H. Davis of Springfield, Missouri; two nephews, Phil and Paul Davis of Springfield, Missouri.
In 1969, Joe graduated from West Plains High School. In 1973, he graduated from the University of Missouri with a Bachelor of Science degree in special education. He was a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity while at Mizzou. In 1977, he graduated from Arkansas State University with a Master’s of Science degree in special education. In 2005, he received a Specialist Degree in Mental Health from the University of Missouri.
Joe held jobs as a teacher, coach, school administrator and businessman; a career path that reflected his father, Hilliard, who he greatly admired. In 1973 Joe’s teaching and football coaching career began at the Highland School District in Hardy, Arkansas. Joe returned home in 1977 to teach in the West Plains School District. After four years of teaching Joe transitioned careers in 1982 to work for Davidson Insurance Agency as an insurance broker. After 15 years in the insurance business, Joe felt called to return to the field of education. In 1997 he resumed his teaching career at the West Plains Middle School.
In 2005, Mr. Davis created the S.W.A.T. (Students Working at Transition) Program. The S.W.A.T. Program was designed to help individuals with disabilities gain work experience in the community while attending West Plains High School. A major goal of the S.W.A.T. Program was to help students gain post graduation employment and increase independence for individuals with disabilities. The S.W.A.T. Program continues to be an integral part of the Special Education Department for the West Plains School District. In 2011, Joe retired from the West Plains R-VII School District where he was a respected special education teacher, football and track coach, and administrator. His career as an educator spanned over 38 years.
In the 1880s, the first Davis family ancestors settled in West Plains, Missouri. Mr. Davis was proud of his Howell County roots and gave back by serving on many organizations throughout his life including the West Plains Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) President for two years, West Plains Chamber of Commerce board member, Southern Missouri Community Health Center board member, Howell Valley School District board member, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) board member, University of Missouri Alumni Association, Black and Gold Chapter, Scholarship Chairman, Old Time Music Festival Steering Committee and volunteer, Ozarks Preservation, Inc. (OPI) Cultural Tourism project, SB 40 Board of Howell County secretary and Co-chairman, West Plains United Way board member and Missouri State-West Plains Friends of the Garnett Library board member. Joe’s work of serving his community did not go unnoticed. He received the 2011 Humanitarian of the Year Award from Ozark Independent Living in recognition for his sustained actions over a period of many years that have promoted the plight and worth of disabled persons and improved their dignity, respect and potential; the 2011 Community Service Award from the West Plains Rotary Club for development of the SWAT program between the West Plains R-7 School District and Ozarks Medical Center in helping provide daily living skills for members of the community.
Joe had many hobbies which included quail hunting, training bird dogs, fishing, exploring rivers, studying the history of the Ozarks, Zizzer athletics, Mizzou athletics, photography, attending church, playing his acoustic guitar, and listening to his vinyl record collection. Most importantly Joe loved his family. He enjoyed bringing his family together by cooking them dinner. This brought the family together around their dining room table with love and laughter.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the West Plains Schools S.W.A.T. program and made payable to the West Plains R-7 School District and may be left at or mailed to Robertson-Drago Funeral Home, 211 West Main, West Plains, MO 65775.
David and Kathy Clark
February 28, 2023 @ 1:36 pm
Praying for all of Joe’s family and friends!
Bill and Beverly Linson
February 28, 2023 @ 2:48 pm
February 28, 2023 @ 4:18 pm
Bob “Rabbit” Miller considered Joe a great friend.
February 28, 2023 @ 5:32 pm
My dear Kathy,Ty,Katie and Nellie. My thoughts and prayers are with each and everyone of you at this difficult time….God Bless You and I love you.
February 28, 2023 @ 5:56 pm
Joe was such an encourager and gentle man. Sympathy to his family as you endure your loss of husband, father, brother and friend. May all who loved Joe remember the good times and kindness he shared in his journey. RIP Joe
February 28, 2023 @ 6:04 pm
Mr. Davis was an amazing support to our family while we worked to navigate and understand my son’s autism. He was always so optimistic and kind towards all of us and especially towards Christopher, who is now a successful young adult. Thank you Mr. Davis, for being a friendly and kind face within stressful meetings and difficult circumstances. Your legacy lives on, in Christopher!
Rachel Rothgeb Johnson
February 28, 2023 @ 7:03 pm
Kathy and family, I am so sorry to hear about Mr. Davis. His mom Elinore was my first grade teacher at Thayer. She always beamed when she shared a story with mom and me about her sons and their families and rightly so. Mr. Davis certainly lived up to her stories. What a wonderful legacy he leaves. Rachel Rothgeb Johnson
February 28, 2023 @ 8:26 pm
Mr Joe Davis (Joe) as he preferred to be called. You will be forever missed. You were the inspiration for many young and adult kids with and without disabilities. You were an angel here on earth,chosen for you a path God,put you in. You were a great man kind & generous,thoughtful and caring & an inspiration for all. You were one of the best things to have happened in my son’s life and had the greatest opportunity as having you for a teacher in his last years in high school. Inspired him in the S.W.A.T. program for him and others alike. And with the ECO program that was Inspired by you and however cut short was the best for kids with disabilities as if they had a purpose in life and they could belong in this world. You will be an angel looking after them Joe. Thoughts & Prayers for Kathy, Ty & his daughter. He loved talking about his adventures with his family he greatly loved.
Sue Lee Moss Patterson
February 28, 2023 @ 11:27 pm
Joe and Mike were childhood friends with my sister, Sally Moss Golden, and me, and our parents were friends as well. Thirty years or so after graduation I attended a meeting in Jefferson City, MACDDS I believe, and there was Joe! His passion for educating those with special needs was outstanding!
Prayers and sympathy to all the Davis family.
March 1, 2023 @ 5:23 am
I am so sorry to hear this. God bless you all.
Sherri and Craig Cromer
March 1, 2023 @ 8:52 am
We want to express our sincere condolences for your loss. Joe was a great man. I had the privilege of getting to work with him and he was my secret pal one year and never gave it away. He will be missed by many. Know that our prayers of comfort and peace are with you all.
March 1, 2023 @ 9:19 am
Kathy: I was deeply saddened and surprised this morning by coming face to face with Joe’s Obit in the WPDQ. I knew that he hadn’t been in very good health, but you just never think that such an old and quality friend could be suddenly gone. We’ve shared so many laughs in the past that it is right that we share a tear now. Whether it was teasing Joe that he “married up” or talking about the OLD days when quail were plentiful or in the last few years when he just wasn’t up to deer hunting and I’d drop a yearling deer off at your house; trust me, I’ve enjoyed my association with Joe (and you) very much. If I can do anything to help please let me know.
Vicky Richman Brown
March 1, 2023 @ 9:22 am
What a dear & special man!! Joe will be so missed by so !! Joe’s family is in my thoughts and prayers!
Amber and Bob Trautman
March 2, 2023 @ 2:05 pm
Kathy, Ty and Katie, we want to express our deepest condolences for your loss. Joe was a wonderful husband, father, educator and supporter of West Plains influencing many in his path. Joe and your family were great neighbors to us for many years. Prayers for peace and comfort for your family.
March 2, 2023 @ 6:38 pm
Joe was a great man and good friend. I enjoyed coaching Zizzer junior high football with him. Many memories. I am sorry for your loss.
March 2, 2023 @ 7:10 pm
Kathy, my deepest condolences to you and your family. May you all find peace and comfort in your beautiful memories.
March 4, 2023 @ 8:27 am
Joe was a very caring man and great coach he was my sons coach when everyone thought my son was to small for sports coach wouldn’t let my son give up he was a big influence in my sons life and I am forever thankful for that Joe you will be greatly missed! My son is Brandon Barlow!
March 4, 2023 @ 11:10 am
Kathy, I am so sorry to hear this. You are in my thoughts and prayers.
March 5, 2023 @ 9:40 am
Kathy, Katie & Elinore, Ty, & Mr. Mr. Michael Davis & Sons,
Our Deepest Sympathy to all of you on the passing Joe. He was a great colleague and friend. He always was a great supporter of Corby and we appreciate all he did for Corby while he was at the Elementary. He was a very caring educator/administrator and made a difference in every student’s life one of the reasons he started the SWAT program in West Plains R-7 School District which till this day is a wonderful program for our students in our school district. He had a wonderful sense of humor and a smile for all. He will be missed. Prayers for all of you daily that God will comfort, encourage, strengthen, and give each of you peace. May God bless all of you.
In Christian Love,
Tim, Amber(Cozort), and Corby Redburn
March 5, 2023 @ 5:39 pm
Kathy and family. So sorry we couldn’t be at Joes service.
Not walking too well these days.
You guys will always have a special place in our hearts. So fun when you were baptized in the pool at night! Hallelujah what a night! The great thing about Joe, he has finally received his total healing! May God give you the peace that passes all
understanding of n the coming days and years!
Curt and Paula Brown