Rev. Carl Davis The Rev. Carl 'Preacher' Davis, of Prairie Village Rantoul, Ill., formerly of East Bank, W. Va., went home to be with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and his beloved wife, Mable, at 7:29 p.m. August 28, 2006 at Carle Hospital in Urbana. Local funeral services will be held Thursday at 7 p.m. at Wolfe Funeral Home, Potomac, Ill., with Sally Swaim officiating. Visitation will be 6 p.m. until time of services on Thursday at the Funeral Home. Services to be held at 10 a.m. at East Bank, W.Va., at Pryor Funeral Home on Tuesday Sept. 5. Burial will be in Bowling Cemetery, Hitchins, Ky. Visitation will be from 3 to 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 4, at the funeral home. Preacher Davis was born January 19, 1911, in Katy Hollow, Denton, Ky., a son of Benjamin and Gertie Bartley Davis. He married Mable Crum on September 23, 1932, in Grayson Ky. She preceded him in death on January 26, 1996. Survivors include a daughter, Loretta Burke of Potomac Ill.; two sons, Bob Davis of Lawtey, Fla., and Don Davis of Danville Ill.; nine grandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren; and four great-great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Mable; a son, Larry; seven sisters; and two brothers. Preacher Davis came to West Virginia looking for work in 1935 by hitching a ride on a freight train. After finding a job in a coal mine in Burnwell, W Va., he returned to Kentucky for his wife and baby daughter. He worked the coal mines, and also he worked as a maintenance man for Kanawha County Schools. In the 60's he not only held a full time job, he was a pastor of a church and also started a wood working shop at his home where, for the next 35 or so years, he built over 50 grandfather clocks, numerous gun cabinets, dry sinks, altar tables, toys, bird houses, rocking chairs, etc. Several of his woodworking projects decorated his room at Prairie Village, including the first grandfather clock he had built. He built a clock for each of his four children and numerous other items. Preacher Davis became a Christian in 1947, and was called to preach in 1948. During the years after he was called to preach, he pastored several churches. He pastored the Milburn Freewill Baptist Church for 2 years, the Dry Branch Freewill Baptist Church for 19 ½ years, the Seth Church of the Nazarene for two years, the Lizemore Church of the Nazarene for 1 ½ years, the Gallagher Church of the Nazarene for seven years, and the Simmons Creek church for a few months when he was 90 years old. During those years, he held revival meetings all over West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, Illinois and Indiana. At a revival meeting in Akron, Ohio, 89 people gave their lives to the Lord. Preacher Davis performed hundreds of weddings and funerals. Couples would stop him wherever they saw him and say, You married us 30 or 40 years ago. Several couples have celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversaries during the past few years. After his wife's passing, Preacher Davis continued to live in his home, work in his shop, conduct funeral services, preach at senior citizens meetings, and filled in at church services. When he suffered a heart attack in October 2001, he was in the process of cutting out birdhouses, which he was to take to the local school to show the children how to build them. He fell and broke his foot in September 2004. This is when his daughter convinced him to leave his home and come to Illinois where he could be close to her. He reluctantly agreed, and came to live at Prairie Village in Rantoul, Ill., October 30, 2004. After settling in at Prairie Village, he was not content to sit on his laurels, and certainly not ready to give up his work for the Lord, so he began a weekly church service for those on his floor, along with a weekly Bible study. Never one to sit idle, he built a kitchen clock in his room at the age of 94 ½ Even though he had to interrupt his education in the 8th grade to help his father earn a living, Preacher Davis never stopped learning. He completed his GED to graduate from High School, and took several college courses. Before his eyesight deteriorated he was an avid reader. His mind remained sharp and he loved to recite poetry, the Bible and jokes. He wrote several poems, one of which lamented the closure of the high school in East Bank. It was published in the Charleston Daily Newspaper. Though not as strong in body and voice as he once was, his commitment to serving God was as strong as ever. Those who attended his church services and bible studies greatly enjoyed his preaching and teachings and he will be sorely missed. Preacher Davis was never completely satisfied outside the beautiful hills of West Virginia and kept hoping that he would be able to return there while he was alive. He told everyone, I don't like Illinois, there's nothing here but corn. His mind was sharp and he loved to tell jokes, especially the one about a small church in the hills that finally got electricity and they decided they needed a chandelier for the church. One old man said: I'm against it for three reasons, One, it costs too much, two, nobody can spell it, and three, nobody knows how to play the thing. Although he was never able to return to his beloved hills while alive, he will return there one final time before being laid to rest beside his wife near the place where he was born. Memorials can be made to the Chelyan Church of the Nazarene, which he attended regularly until his move to Illinois, or the Middlefork United Methodist Church, Potomac Ill., where he attended when visiting his daughter.
Submitted by: Linda Cheeks Pittano