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Jim Davis Left His Mark on Senior Softball
June 1, 2016
Jim Davis, a longtime supporter of Senior Softball-USA, died at age 85 on March 24.
Davis’ life is an American classic, filled with adventure, tragedy and heroics. Born in a tiny rural east Tennessee town in the depths of the Depression, Jim’s mother died of tuberculousis when he was just 7 years old. He, along with his two brothers and sister, was sent to live with his grandmother while his father continued to work to support them.
When he was 17, Jim and his best friend, Jackie Swope, decided to enlist in the Marines because they wanted to see the world outside their small town—and they liked the dapper dress uniforms. They got their parents’ signatures, but were sent to different training facilities.
Jim ended up in Guam and a year and a half later the Korean War broke out. Jim was assigned to the 1st Provisional Marine brigade and arrived in the port of Pusan, while it was being besieged by North Korean forces. Jim served as a Sherman tank crewman in every major battle of the war, including the Pusan Perimeter, the Naktong Bulge, Inchon, Seoul, and the Chosin Reservoir. He returned home with medals, and with the devastating news that his best friend – who he had not seen since they enlisted – had been killed in battle.
Jim left east Tennessee for Los Angeles, where he met and became fast friends with the future founder of Senior Softball USA, Bob Mitchell while both worked for the California Highway Patrol. Much of the action during those days was rich fodder for the hugely successful television show “CHIPS.”
After a few years, Jim left the Highway Patrol seeking a job with better pay – and found it in the insurance industry. Over the ensuing decades he helped found and built National Certified Insurance, one of the major insurance brokers in California.
Later, when Mitchell founded SSUSA, Davis stepped in to help with the insurance coverage for the sport.
“Jim has been a force in the sport and in our lives at Senior Softball-USA for many years,” said Terry Hennessy, SSUSA chief executive officer, “and, most important, he was a good friend.”
Jim also was a sponsor and player of NCI Softball Club for 10 years.
“Jim was a great man known for his charity work,” said John Crawford, who played and managed on the NCI teams.
“For anyone that has stepped on the ball field in Southern California, the name Jim Davis and NCI resonated through all of the dugouts,” said Kevin Evans of Top Gun Softball on the SSUSA message board. “He was a fierce competitor and did not accept second place. I enjoyed competing against his teams as he recruited some of the finest softball talent in the regions. Jim will always be remembered for raising senior softball to new heights in SoCal.”