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Davis laid to rest

AHOSKIE – One of Hertford County’s greatest sons was laid to rest yesterday (Monday).

The life of the late DuPont L. Davis, who served his native county faithfully for more than two decades, was celebrated at New Ahoskie Missionary Baptist Church.

Davis – who was remembered as a community activist, mentor and humanitarian – died March 25 at Roanoke-Chowan Hospital after giving many years of his life in public service, including the last 21 as a Hertford County Commissioner.

The Rev. C. David Stackhouse, Pastor of New Ahoskie, officiated over the service which featured some of the many people whose lives were touched by Davis during his lifetime.

“To the family members, we don’t say don’t cry,” Rev. Stackhouse said. “Cry all you want. The Bible tells us Jesus wept.”

The Old Testament Reading was done by the Rev. James Mercer who serves as Pastor of Zion Grove Baptist Church in Aulander while the New Testament Reading was given by the Rev. Robert Sessoms, Pastor of Roanoke Salem Missionary Baptist Church in Garysburg. Following the readings, the Rev. Lloyd Gatling, Pastor of New Haven Baptist Church in Murfreesboro, performed a solo and then Rev. Stackhouse gave a prayer of comfort.

The obituary was read by Joan McCullough and acknowledgements were made by Tarsha Dudley.

The Honorable Cy Grant, Resident Superior Court Judge, then led a list of those who paid tribute to Davis’ life and service.

“My life you may take, but my integrity never,” Judge Grant began. “Those of you, who knew DuPont, knew he often made that statement. It wasn’t just a statement he made; it was how he lived his life.”

Judge Grant said Davis was a man with a keen sense of right and wrong and who lived his life accordingly.

He also said Davis had two great loves – his family and Hertford County. Judge Grant said Davis was a man who showed his love for both.

Turning to Davis’ widow, Judge Grant said, “Earline, thank you for allowing him to be our public servant all these many years.”

Hertford County Commission Chairman Johnnie R. Farmer then spoke on behalf of his board.

“This is a sad day for us; our hearts are heavy as we remember our dear friend, DuPont Davis,” Farmer said.

Farmer then talked about the many nicknames Davis had earned over his time, saying that many of the commissioners referred to him as “king” or “godfather.”

“On our trips, he would hold court,” Farmer said. “He would sit out in the hotel lobby with a crowd gathered around him.”

Farmer said Davis was always working to be a mentor and providing advice to those who were beginning down the road of public service as a commissioner.

Davis was also a big believer in fairness and equality, Farmer said.

“He was a fair man who would always tell us that we had to feed everyone from the same spoon,” Farmer said. “If a citizen came with a special request, he would remind us if we did it for one, we had to do it for all.”

Farmer said the legacy of Davis was a great one.

“DuPont’s legacy is he left Hertford County a better place to live,” Farmer said.

In closing, he quoted II Timothy 4:6-7 from the Bible.

“For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith,” Farmer quoted.

Next to pay tribute to Davis was Hertford County Sheriff Juan Vaughan.

“Commissioner Davis was a friend and I would always enjoy sitting and talking to him,” Vaughan said. “He was a great mentor. We’re going to miss him.”

The final tribute came from Davis’ son.

“For those of you who don’t know me, let me make it explicitly clear: I’m Derrick DuPont Davis,” Davis said doing an impression of his father to a chorus of laughter and applause.

Davis said his father loved Hertford County and said he and his family were grateful for the love and support they have received from the people of the community.

“I could stand here all day and tell you DuPont Davis stories – some that I can’t tell in this house,” Davis laughed.

Then, turning serious, Davis said that he knew his family would make it through this difficult time.

“The Davis family is all right,” he said. “The outpouring of love for us has been amazing. Pray for us.”

The eulogy was then delivered by DuPont Davis’ childhood friend, the Rev. Lebron Britt Jr., associate minister at Zion Grove Baptist Church.

Rev. Britt read from the book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible.

“To everything there is a season,” he said.

Rev. Britt talked about the verse that said there is a time to be born and a time to die.

“It came DuPont’s time to die last week,” he said. “Just as sure as you and I are breathing the breath of life, our time is coming.”

Rev. Britt then remembered growing up with Davis as the latter began to play baseball in the St. John community. He talked about Davis’ constant desire to do his best and to push everyone around him to do the same.

“DuPont was a man among men,” Rev. Britt said. “Some people didn’t like him and I know that. Some people don’t like me. Some people didn’t like Jesus.”

Davis was buried at the Davis Family Cemetery in Aulander.