G. Ben Beauchamp < >
To: All Sigma Chi Brothers
Sent: Tue, October 5, 2010 5:16:15 PM
Subject: Gene's Eulogy
This is the email we received from Brother Ben, allowing us to see the beautiful talk delivered at Gene's memorial
Eulogy - October 3, 2010
Eldridge Eugene Davis, Jr. return to all honor return to brother's comments
My name is Ben Beauchamp and on September 28, 2010 – I was having early
morning coffee in a small café near my home between Brenham and Navasota
when my cell phone rang. ------changed my life!
I’ve never met a man I loved, respected and admired more than .
The Cross on my lapel was given to me by Gene nearly 50 years ago.
He would not have wished for us to be sad today, but we are.
Our mere attendance reflects the affection we feel for our departed
friend. Many others tried, but were unable to be here.
I thank you Jan, for allowing me speak publicly of Gene.
There are many among us that knew Gene as well or better than I, but I’ll
do my best for him.
Unlike Gene, I will be brief and try to speak without using those darn
engineering terms he was so fond of.
Gene was born during the height of WWII on April 6 1943.
He was a handsome child and become a handsome man.
His Daddy was an electrician installing the electrical systems in
Destroyers and other war ships in Orange Texas. Eldridge was the first
born of Phyllis and Slick’s two children. His beautiful sister, Nancy
would come later, after the war.
Port Arthur was no longer a small town, as it had been when our parents
grew up there and the refineries and other industries offered the chance
for many coming out of the depression to better their lives.
Mr. Davis ultimately opened an Electrical Contracting Company; he and
Phyllis raised Gene and Nancy and lived the American dream.
While my parents knew the Davis family; I first remember meeting Gene as a
youngster, at the Methodist Temple in downtown Port Arthur. Even then,
Gene was an active member practicing his faith.
He graduated Thomas Jefferson High School in 1961 and was a member of the
as well as many other clubs and student
organizations. He played football as an end on the Yellow Jacket team.
Many of his classmates and teammates are here today to honor him.
Some of you were with Jan and Gene recently and spent time in Florida with
Jimmy Johnson and other classmates at Jimmy’s home. Gene told me they much
Gene was popular in high school and was a stellar student, both in conduct
and example. If you met him and got to know him, you liked him. He played
the guitar and was fun to be around.
Upon graduation from Thomas Jefferson he began his college career at
“ on the Neches” or more accurately, Lamar State College of
Technology in Beaumont; majoring in Electrical Engineering.
Now, I know for a fact, that my Daddy loved Gene more than me because
Daddy had gone back to college later in life and received an Electrical
Engineering Degree from Lamar in the mid 50’s. Double E’s have a special
bond in that they think logically, speak math and know a heck of a lot
I still think electricity is a miracle and being a year younger than Gene,
my parents were mostly concentrating on my being potty trained before I
graduated high school.
Starting Lamar in 62 and pledging Sigma Chi Fraternity was a fortuitous
choice for me. My “big brother” or mentor in that organization was Gene.
I grew to admire Gene Davis in those days. His steadfast faith, his
diligence in his studies, his maturity, his endearing friendships and his
thoughtful counseling were a blessing to me. Gene actually listened to
what folks said, thought about it and made rational decisions. What a fine
example for a green south county boy. He continued this throughout his
life and I as well as others have benefited from his friendship these many
years. Dennis still says it was the only thing that kept us off death row.
There was also a wild side to Gene, I won’t even mention the ‘chug a lug’
contest he won on the beach in Galveston during Beach Week; his prize kept
us supplied with adult beverages for several days; nor shall I discuss the
Christmas when we took all the discarded gift wrapping and threw it into
his neighbor’s pool. It wouldn’t have been a big deal except the paper
faded and dyed the sides of the pool a bright pink color. Phyllis was not
amused. Fortunately Slick had a good sense of humor and our scheduled
execution was commuted.
I will speak of one college event and that was a Sigma Chi, Sweetheart
Ball held at the Port Arthur Country Club. While couples dreamily danced
by the pool in the moonlight, I watched in amazement as Gene, dressed
splendidly in a rented tux, quietly climbed the pool ladder and made a
perfect swan dive from the high board into the pool.
The amazing thing about that event was; emerging from the water, soaking
wet, the tux and other formal clothes shed the water in a remarkably short
time and later we were in the rest room while Gene, appearing completely
dry was combing his hair; someone threw open the door and said, “Did you
see that guy make that dive into the pool from the high board?”
Gene never missed a stroke combing his hair, looked at me with a grin and
said, “Must have been a professional; best dive I ever saw!”
Gene’s dorm room was downright dangerous. The wall light switch might
operate the radio or some other gadget and one never knew what to expect
if any electrical switch was flipped. While we were fishing on Bolivar, he
once found a completely worthless piece of rusted junk buried in the sand
and stated it was a radio and he was going to fix it. Unbelievably he did
and incorporated it into the wiring in his room.
Gene did well in college and upon his graduation was rewarded by an offer
of employment from none other than General Electric Corporation.
GE did not hire many young men from small colleges, even one as
prestigious as “Harvard on the Neches.” Congratulations Eldridge Eugene
He left Lamar, for Houston after a stint at corporate headquarters and
started what would become a long and successful career with GE.
I was side tracked by the Marine Corps and other misadventures but finally
graduated and went to Houston in 69 where I teamed with Gene and our buddy
We all lived together for many years at and
I shared a two bed room apartment and Gene had a one bedroom next to us.
Dennis and I agreed it was the safest arrangement for all of us. You may
have seen a TV show about hoarders, people who keep things and never
throw them out. That was the best way to describe Gene’s apartment.
In addition to being an electrical nightmare, there was a maze of huge
boxes of magazines, newspapers and literally tons of other junk that he
was going to get around to reading, studying or fixing. It was wall to
Gene worked very hard. He was often gone for days or weeks.
I enjoyed listening to him discuss the projects he worked on. In addition
to smaller things, he installed huge pieces of equipment in paper mills,
steel mills, generating plants, ships and other locations throughout Texas
and other parts of the US. He was a competent professional and enjoyed his
work. He was both capable and reliable. I am still impressed with the
things he did because Gene Davis was one heck of an Electrical Engineer.
We all grew older, and eventually moved apart: finally potty trained I did
finish law school in spite of the partying. Gene continued a distinguished
professional career and lived life to the fullest; his friendships never
diminishing his bonds never wavering.
Gene was also a serious person with a terrific sense of humor.
He was a deep thinker, sometimes really deep. True story -
Gene, what day is Easter? Answer; - Easter Day is the first Sunday after
the full moon that occurs next, after the vernal equinox. The full moon
involved is not the astronomical Full Moon but an ecclesiastical moon that
keeps, more or less, in step with the astronomical Moon. Resulting in that
Easter can never occur before March 22 or later than April 25. – “Gene,
all I can say is, good luck to the Easter Bunny!”
Over the years, many here have partied, laughed, and worshiped with Gene.
We have also cried with him during such difficult times as the loss of his
Mother and Sister so long ago. His Daddy too.
Through the good times and tough times, we studied, swam, sailed, skied,
fished, vacationed and always enjoyed his company, his wit and easy going
attitude; it was infectious. I valued his advice and assumed he valued
mine until he recently said he didn’t think I was a very good lawyer but
my counseling was free.
Gene was passionate about his life. If you sailed or skied with him, he
understood all sorts of things about what he was doing while I was just
struggling to keep from capsizing or falling. He just didn’t go skin
diving; he became a Senior Master Dive Instructor. I could go on for many
hours about the times and life of Gene and many here today could add
volumes to his legacy. Gene was simply a good person, a gentleman.
It’s difficult to capture the spirit of such a fine man in a brief speech
and he deserves better. He liked most everyone and they in turn liked him!
He was a fair minded person, unpretentious and smart as a whip. His
affection for his family was shown by his love for his Uncle John, and was
saddened by the recent loss of John’s wife, his Aunt Dorothy.
He loved his stepmother Virginia; always referred to her daughter Pam as
his sister. In his heart, I know she was.
He spoke fondly of Jan’s children and family.
Gene was one of those people you wanted to be friends with for life. You
just couldn’t help but like him.
Everyone agrees his marriage to Jan was one of the best things that ever
happened to him. The woman is a saint and he loved her dearly. Who else
would go skin diving with a crazy swan diver and live with a hoarder. She
nursed him through his cancer and made him well. He was happy. I thought
he never would find a house that met his stringent engineering
specifications but he did and not too long ago, he built Jan a pond in the
back yard of their beautiful new home. Gene was proud of that pond. Ever
true to his nature he could come see me and then get on line and take me
all through the house and yard with a security system he had installed.
Life was good. I thank you Jan for being such a positive influence on his
life and loving him the way you do. We share your sorrow.
Gene quietly practiced his faith throughout his entire life and was doing
so till it ended. Jan and Gene have shown their abiding love for our
fellow man and a dedication to their faith by their actions every day;
bolstered by their many trips south to help improve the lives of poorer
folk in other countries and their work in prison ministries. Jan & Gene
Davis lived their faith by example; partners till the end.
I viewed my parent’s graves today; my grandparents lie near by,
A host of others are also there, their stones now stately lie.
Eulogies were lovingly delivered, at the funerals of those gone,
I then thought of each of them, and two dates carved in stone.
The first date noted, is that of birth; the second brings us to tears,
What matters most, I have come to learn, is the dash between those years.
This simple dash, as we all know, represents their time on earth,
And each of us, now lovingly remembers, what this tiny line is worth.
It matters not, how much they had; the cars, the house, the cash,
What matters most, is how they lived, the time within that dash.
I thought about this long and hard, are there things that I should change?
Unable to know the time I have; is my dash near the end of its range?
When our eulogy is given some future day, and our souls shall come to pass.
Will, we be as pleased, with things then said, as were said of Eldridge’s
So I will end this eulogy by saying
Goodbye to a loving son
Goodbye, to a loving brother
Goodbye, to our memorable friend
Goodbye, to a dear husband
Goodbye, dear Gene
We all know that our Lord is getting a really good electrical engineer
But for goodness sakes Gene; promise us, when you go anywhere in Heaven,
please leave the wiring alone!!!
God’s speed - Eldridge Eugene Davis, Jr.
I THANK YOU