Retired U.S. Navy Captain Robert Wythe Davis died on February 7, 2016, in Williamsburg.
He was born in Yorktown on September 12, 1931, to the late John Robert and Virginia Nimmo Davis. Family and friends fondly remember him as “Sommie” or “Ace.”
He attended Yorktown Elementary School through the seventh grade and then attended Morrison (now Warwick) High School for two years prior to attending Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham. He graduated from HMA in 1948 and then returned there for one postgraduate semester.
In January 1949, he attended William & Mary on a football scholarship. After three semesters, at the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950, he entered the Army, and was subsequently transferred to the Naval Academy Prep School in Newport, Rhode Island.
He entered the Naval Academy in the summer of 1951. As a midshipman, he played guard, center and linebacker on the football team and was a member of the “Team Named Desire” that won the 1955 Sugar Bowl.
After graduation, he was commissioned in the Navy as a Supply Corps officer and served 31 years, retiring as a captain in 1986. Sea duty assignments were: USS Vogelgesang (DD 862) as supply and disbursing officer, USS Annapolis (AGMR 1) as supply department head, and USS Albany (CG 10) as logistics officer on the Sixth Fleet Staff, where he had the “distinction” of being the “Senior Navy Supply Corps Officer afloat.”
In 1957, he was assigned to the Naval Academy as an instructor in the marine engineering department with additional duty as an assistant varsity football coach under Head Coach Eddie Erdlatz. Teams he coached included the 1958 Sugar Bowl champions.
Subsequent shore duty assignments included tours as a logistics officer at Naval Station Bermuda, NAS Pensacola, and Naval Station Iceland in support of various Navy aircraft; the Strategic Mobility Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; the staff of Assistant Secretary of the Navy; as assistant Inspector General of the Naval Supply System Command; Executive Office of Naval Supply Center Charleston; Commanding Officer of Naval Supply Depot Yokosuka, Japan; the staff of Commander in Chief, U.S. Naval Forces, Europe; and Officer in Charge of Naval Supply Center Cheatham Annex.
His career included a number of educational opportunities, which as a junior officer included the Naval Supply Corps School in Athens, Georgia, and Transportation Management School, Oakland, California. In 1965, he graduated with distinction from the Navy Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, receiving a master’s of science in management (economics). In 1973, he graduated from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, Washington, D.C.
He also completed the Naval War College Command and Staff course by correspondence. During his naval career, he was awarded the Legion of merit with star (second award), the Meritorious Service Medal with star, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal, the National Defense Service Medal with star, and the Vietnam Campaign Medal with device.
He retired from the Navy in 1986 and subsequently became a senior engineer for the VITRO Corporation supervising the Wallops Island operation in support of the Navy’s AEGIS Destroyer/Cruiser Program. After retiring to Williamsburg, he became voter registrar for the City of Williamsburg, serving in that position for five years from 1999 to 2004.
He lost his wife of more than 50 years, the former Marguerite Bozarth of Williamsburg, to cancer in 2005.
He is survived by his second wife, Kimberly Nelson Davis; four children, their spouses and six grandchildren: son Robert Wythe Davis Jr., wife, Kari, daughter, Kaitlin, and son, Wythe; daughter Marguerite Ellen Davis, husband, Richard Warren, and son, Davis; daughter, Melissa Davis Wilson, and son, Daniel; son, James Bryan Davis, and his sons, River and Austen. He is also by his sister, Mary Mallory Foster; plus numerous nieces, nephews and countless friends.
Memorial services will be conducted at Grace Episcopal Church, Yorktown, VA, at 10 a.m. on February 20, 2016.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in his memory to: Jackson-Feild Home for Girls, 546 Walnut Drive, Jarratt, VA 23867, or the charity of your preference.
Please leave online condolences for the family at Nelsen Funeral Home.
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