Joseph Lavanda Davis was born March 9, 1936 in Mobile, Alabama. He is one of ten children born to the late Reverend Samuel and Alma Davis. At an early age, he confessed his faith in Christ as his Lord and Savior, at Emanuel AME Church in Mobile. Joseph attended elementary school in Mobile and later moved with the family to Tuscumbia, Alabama. He graduated from Trenholm High School and attended Alabama State College, presently Alabama State University in Montgomery, Alabama, where he earned the Bachelor's Degree in Music Education and Mathematics. In the late nineties Joseph retired from Rockwell International in Titusville, Florida. Before being employed at Rockwell, he served as band director and taught mathematics in several school districts across the country, including Florida, Georgia and North Carolina. During the years in which Joseph was a member of Big Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church (AMEC) of Atlanta, Georgia, he was affectionately called, "Mr. Joe, Joe Joe or Uncle Joe." He loved his Big Bethel Family, and was always warmly greeted by members with a big smile and hug. Additionally, Joseph was so proud of his "baby brother," Pastor James Levert Davis. Beginning under the leadership of Pastor Davis, he was hired as one of the facilities managers of the church. Upon the election of Bishop Davis to the Episcopacy in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, he worked with two additional pastors of Big Bethel. You could always find him working around the church in various capacities, including performing his tasks as a member of Men of Big Bethel (MOB). As ill as he was, even in his last days, his conversations centered on the AME Church. He demonstrated an abiding faith in God. He enjoyed life and lived it to the fullest; and always had a kind and encouraging word for everyone. Joseph was a proud member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity; and relished opportunities to participate with his brothers in Kappa programs and activities. Those who will cherish many memories of him include three daughters, Damita Jo Davis Moss of Hollywood, Florida, Monique (Randall) Cartwright of Atlanta, Georgia, and Alake Davis of Titusville, Florida; one son, Alfredo Davis of Titusville, Florida; six grandchildren, Martika Moss, Malina Moss, Thomas Cartwright, Brooke Cartwright, and Hailey Cartwright, and Cordell Tanner; one sister, Dr. Bester Joyce Bonner (Warell) of Silver Spring, MD; four brothers, Robert L. Willis of Groveland, Florida, James Albert (Shirley) Davis of Oakland, California, Solomon Morris (Judy) Davis of Rancho Palos Verdes, California and Bishop James (Arelis) Davis of Atlanta, Georgia and Birmingham, Alabama; a host of lovng nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
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