Obituaries: 04-18-24

Gary Davis

Gary Davis was born on April 13, 1947 in southeast Washington, D.C., and nearly died on May 9, 2009 from his familial disease, interstitial (not idiopathic) pulmonary fibrosis. Miraculously, the transplant team at Cleveland Clinic found a match after numerous mismatches and he received a bi-lung transplant that prolonged his life for another nearly 14 years.

He died on January 26, 2023 from sepsis due to aspiration pneumonia and other causes. He chose to donate his body to the University of Michigan Medical Program for Anatomical Studies to return the medical favor for the residents to receive his body as their first patient to learn from and become future doctors and surgeons of the highest caliber.

Gary was born into a historic Washington, D.C., family. One of those historic chapters involved his Aunt Evelyn Davis. She was one of the pioneers of modern dance. Her colleagues were Martha Graham, Jose Limon, Ruth Dennis, Russian masters and circus performers. Gary began dancing at her Washington, D.C., School of Dance at age 4. These teachers were his primary mentors and inspired his choreography. He danced professionally for 30 years and taught his choreography to many dance companies, including the Boston Ballet.

In addition, his academics included a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Maryland, a master’s in dance and choreography from the University of Illinois at Champagne-Urbana and a master’s from Teachers College Columbia University, New York City. Gary married Dyana (Koontz) Yardley-Davis at Then Cloister’s in Fort Tryon Park, New York City in 1990.

A celebration of life will take place at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, April 26 at the Historic Monclova Church located on the Wolcott House and Heritage Center property, 1035 River Rd., Maumee. The service will be presided over by Dyana’s friend, the Rev. Dr. Deborah Darlington from Philadelphia. It is open to the public; however, the interment is for family only. 

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