‘What a terrific guy he was, every great adjective’: Family, friends remember Talawanda treasurer lost to coronavirus

Mike Davis is being remembered for his love of family, friendly smile, willingness to help others, support for his community and financial acumen getting the Talawanda School District through major building projects.

Davis, the district’s treasurer and CFO, became the third person in Butler County to die of the coronavirus with his passing on Friday. He served as district treasurer for 12 years, which saw him involved in three major building projects – a new high school, a new Kramer Elementary and the just-begun Marshall Elementary work.

Crystal, his wife of 38 years, called him “a man of integrity, outstanding in his community.”

She said she is still in shock that the man she met when they were sophomores at Talawanda High School had been taken from her.

“It has not sunk in. I keep thinking he will come in the door,” Crystal Davis said. “He never said a bad thing about anybody.”

In addition to his wife, Mike Davis leaves three sons: Bryan (Kim), Corey and Dylan (Mary) and one grandchild, just six months old.

She recalled a friend telling her about being impressed that, “At the end of every conversation (with his sons) he would say, ‘I love you son,’ without being self-conscious about it.”

Mike Davis grew up in a military family and moved around but came to Oxford when he was a sophomore in high school. His father left the military and went to work at Miami’s Farmer School Business. He was a 1973 Talawanda graduate and went on to play one year of Division I football at the University of Kentucky, but moved back to Oxford to graduate from Miami University. He later earned an MBA and was licensed as a CPA.

Mike and Crystal Davis met as sophomores, and she said they dated 10 years before getting married.

“In 48 years, I learned a lot about what a terrific guy he was, every great adjective. He was a wonderful father, a wonderful grandparent. His time was cut short. We wanted to retire and visit the kids,” she said.

Talawanda Superintendent Ed Theroux praised Davis’ stewardship of district funds.

“Mike was an asset for the Talawanda School District. He invested money wisely and built up what I will call a rainy day fund for the district,” Theroux said. “He facilitated and led construction of our (Kramer and Marshall) buildings and it was done without additional bond money.”

Former Talawanda Board of Education member and president Mark Butterfield worked closely with Davis on those three building projects and praised his work on behalf of the district, calling him “a great friend and coworker.”

“Mike Davis had a tremendous impact on many within our community, his leadership, professionalism and dedication to the Talawanda School District has led its growth, development and financial success,” Butterfield said. “Mike Davis indirectly impacted the lives of our children by providing the financial guidance and discipline necessary for strategic financial investments to be made while protecting the taxpayers of the district. Mike Davis was more importantly a close friend and will be missed by all.”

Charlie Jahnigen, of SHP Leading Design, was the architect for those district building projects and was impressed by Davis’ dedication to those projects, getting the best possible facility for the best price.

“We met in the fall of 2008 when the high school was funded. I started to meet with Mike and (then superintendent) Phil Cagwin and Mike made himself the fiscal manager,” Jahnigen said. In 2012, he said, they began discussing Kramer and he has e-mails from 2017 beginning the process for Marshall. “We worked on projects totaling $65 million. It was a great team. The sad part is in meetings with me about Marshall he was starting to talk about retirement, calling this his last hurrah.”

With group gatherings prohibited as part of the coronavirus, the community is planning an Honor Parade from 5-7 p.m. Thursday. Participants will gather at Talawanda Middle School and drive through the neighborhood past the Davis home in tribute to him.

About the Author