John D. Davis, known to family and friends as “Buddy” passed away surrounded by members of his family on December 20. He will be greatly missed by his wife of 54 years, Kay, three daughters and two son-in-laws, Jennifer-Lynn and Jamie Lee, Melissa and Nima Ebrahimnejad and Kimberly Davis, seven grandchildren, Rebecca, Jacob, Kayla, Samuel, Maya, Emma and Maxwell and his niece Linda Thomson as well as many other nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his sister June Gerber and his Mother Eloise Linthicum.
Davis was born on October 13, 1934, in Keyser W. Va., and moved to the Washington D.C. area as a youngster. In his early years he developed an interest in music, especially bluegrass. He was a self-taught musician and luthier (maker of string instruments) who apprenticed under a good friend and mentor Tom Morgan. He enlisted in the USAF in 1954 with friend Allen Lewis during the Korean War and trained as a jet mechanic. He was stationed at Andrews AFB. It was during this time that he met his future wife Kay.
They made their home in Sterling where he raised his family while working for Lindsey Cadillac as a skilled auto body mechanic. In the mid 1980’s he changed careers and started working for the Gannett Company. He was the first USA Today newspaper distributor in Loudoun County. Throughout all of these years he continued to make and improve upon his musical instruments and was selling them throughout the United States. His Davis brand included Mandolins and Banjos.
Buddy also played in several bluegrass bands during his musical career. The one he is most remembered for was the Potomac Valley Boys with Charlie Smith. He also played with Dave Vernon and The Dixie Rebels and Leon Morris.
In 1990 he moved to Bluemont were he retired and went to work part-time for Cochran’s Lumber and Millwork. He continued to make his instruments which by this time were being played on the Grand Ole Opry and by Larry Stephenson. He made his last Davis Mandolin (his 79th) in 2012 for his urologist and family friend Dr. Nicholas G. Lailas.
Davis is also especially remembered for his love of trains, the real thing and miniatures. He acquired quite a collection of miniatures including HO and Lionel train sets over the years and was a frequent visitor to Cass, W. Va. for a ride on the real thing… a steam-driven locomotive.
Services will be held January 10 at the Hall Funeral Home in Purcellville from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. Relatives and friends are welcome at the service and the reception immediately following at the Thomas Family Residence in Purcellville (map and directions will be provided at the service).
Special thanks to The Adler Center for Hospice Care in Aldie for the comfort they provided.