John Edward Davis, Jr. “Papa John”


John E. Davis, Jr., 81, of Westwood, Kansas, died October 30, 2010 at the Kansas City Hospice House. A Memorial Service will be held Thursday, November 4, 2010 at 1 pm at the Old Mission United Methodist Church. In lieu of lowers, please send memorial donations to the John E. Davis Memorial Fund for Scholarships at Shawnee Mission South High School, 5800 W.107th St., Shawnee Mission, KS 66207, Attn. A.D. John Johnson.

John was born November 21, 1928 in Franklinton, LA to John and Joyce Burch Davis. He was married to Roberta Armstrong Davis for 59 years and she preceded him in death by 34 days. John was the head football coach at SM South from 1966 – 1985 and retired from teaching in 1994. He had two undefeated teams that won State Championships in 1973 and 1975.

John is survived by his son, Mitch Davis of Scottsdale, AZ, two grandchildren, Kayla and Ryan Davis also of Scottsdale and his sister-in-law, Barbara Simmons of Tulsa, OK. John’s life was devoted to his wife, his son, his grandchildren and his passion for coaching. He was loved and will be missed dearly by his family.  He was respected by all who knew him and especially by the players he coached.


  1. Dianne Patterson Burns on July 31, 2021 at 4:25 pm

    Coach Davis was a tough coach but impacted so many lives. I will never forget “Puddy butt” which I think was my nickname in driver’s Ed and Anne Witthaus.
    My brother John Patterson played for Coach and went on to become a head coach himself. He won the state championship in 1977. He was the biggest mentor in our lives ❤. I think of him often and how he touched our hearts.
    Dave Stewart did an incredible job eulogizing coach. RIP to your mom and dad.

  2. Wes Fielder on June 25, 2021 at 2:39 pm

    Coach Davis was always approachable despite his demeanor as head football coach. He had major challenges in many of his students and players. He taught me how to drive and was always available. My condolences go out to the entire Davis family.

  3. Diana (Getzoff) Reamer on June 25, 2021 at 12:03 am

    Even though it has been many years, I just learned of your Dad’s passing. He was my Drivers Ed teacher and I can still hear him saying, “Turn from and into the nearest legal lane. Every time!” I just taught my teens to drive and recalled all the ways he scared the crap outta me. But, knock on wood, I’ve only had one ticket in all my years of driving! Your Dad left a huge impact in so many lives. May you all be comforted by these remembrances!

  4. Susie Shanks on June 24, 2021 at 11:21 pm

    I had your dad in Driver’s Ed. He made it interesting and always expected the best from all of his students. He touched so many lives. I am sorry to hear of his and your Mom’s passing. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  5. Jim Harlow on October 29, 2012 at 7:56 am


    Your Dad was the meanest coach I had ever had. I later in life always thanked him for that. If it wasn’t for him, I would have probably ended up daed. Coach Davis, made you want to be better and the other coaches followed suit. Hair was not allowed to come out of the helmet or he’ll cut it himself. Lol, too bad kids today don’t have the discipline we had back then. I will forever be greatful to your Dad, as he scared the crap out of me. So sorry for your loss of your Mom and Dad.

    Jim Harlow Class of 87 Phoneix, Arizona

  6. Sue Brown Bossert on November 13, 2010 at 11:49 pm

    I attended South and graduated in 68, I went to many a football game and set in the stands to watch the team play. I am sorry to hear about your parents, prayers will be answered.

    Sue Bossert, Glendale, Arizona

  7. Kathy & Lou Colombano on November 5, 2010 at 11:27 am

    Dear Mitch and family,

    We were so sorry to hear about the loss of your parents. Our son, Mark, played football for your Dad at SM South (class of 1985) and he was a wonderful influence on Mark. Mark died in 1986 while a student at Pepperdine University; your Dad was one of the first to come to our home that morning and was responsible in part for the memorial service for Mark after the funeral services in California. There has not been a year go by that I did not have a note from your Dad; how wonderful it always made us feel that he remembered us and Mark. All of us were truly blessed by knowing your Dad.

  8. Lee and Wayne DeMott on November 3, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    Mitch and family,
    Wayne and I live at the corner of 49th Terr. and Belinder Rd. and your Dad and I would chat when I walked our Ladykins (Springer-spanial-BorderCollie mix) on Norwood. Your Dad would be working in the yard, and we would talk about the neighborhood, etc. I remember he once warned me that there had been a break-in on Norwood. Your Dad once told me he had been a coach, but I did not know he had been at South (it was a hot day and he was jogging, but he said you just had to pace yourself, etc.) I am sorry about your Mom, also – she and I would wave when she drove-by in the car.
    I have missed your Dad these past weeks and will continue to miss him. We will send a memorial contribution to South and are sorry we cannot be at his service. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. I feel fortunate to have known John these past few years.

  9. Mark Torchia on November 3, 2010 at 10:45 am

    Dear Mitch,

    Your Dad was a huge inspiration to me and I loved playing football at South. The lessons I learned from him have inspired me throughout my life. Your Dad was kind enough to visit my Dad when he was in the hospital for heart surgery – it is something he and my Mom will never forget.

    I am sorry to hear about your Mom as well. It was clear to me they shared a special bond. Your family is in my prayers.


    Mark Torchia
    Class of 1980

  10. Terry Thornton on November 3, 2010 at 9:59 am

    Dear Mitch,

    I worked with your Mom for many year at the Speer Allergy Clinic. I was so sorry to hear about your Mom and Dad passing. They were wonderful people and I know they loved you very much. Please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers.

    Sincerely, Terry Thornton

  11. HAROLD WAMBSGANS on November 2, 2010 at 2:21 pm


  12. Dennis Lindsey on November 2, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    I played football for your Dad in 1976 and 1977, and I learned quite a bit from him as a coach and a teacher. He knew when to be a disciplinarian and when to display his softer side! He really knew when we needed a “kick to our backside!” Blessings to you and your family in these tough times. Take care and god bless you and your family.

  13. John Tindle on November 2, 2010 at 10:16 am

    Mitch. I played for your Dad the first 2 years SMS was open. He was a tough coach, a motivator, and always demand your best on and off the field. His lessons have served me well throughout my life. He will be truly missed.

  14. Paul Ellis on November 2, 2010 at 5:19 am

    Mitch: I am very sorry to learn of the passing of both your Dad and Mom. I will remember your Dad always. He was a kind soul who had the ability to put the fear of God in you as a player. Boy did I need that in my life as a youth. Mitch I hope all is well with you and your family in Arizona. I remember the days on the plaza with many smiles. God bless you and your family! Paul Ellis

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