George Beamer Davis, age 97, of Greenfield, died on July 16, 2012. He was born on November 1, 1914, to the late George Beamer Davis and Leah Elizabeth Joyce Davis on Pierson Street in Greenfield. He is survived by his wife of 71 years, Helen Virginia Ellis Davis. He was preceded in death by his sister, Virginia Joyce Davis Hyatt who passed away on June 30, 2006.
He is also survived by his sons, Stephen (Barbara), James (Sarah), and John (Stacey); by his grandchildren, Nicole (Dejan) Skudrzik, Nathan Davis, Elizabeth (Greg) Goldman, Virginia (Richard Schmeckel) Davis, Catherine Davis, Brett Davis, and Kelly (Troy) Ramey; by his great-grandchildren, Toni, Luka, and Nicolette Skudrzik, Susannah Davis and Edward Goldman; by his nieces, Joyce (Tom) Strickland and Jane (Bob) Fink; and by his grand nieces and nephews, Emily King and Adam Strickland, Karly Adams and Tommy Reel.
George graduated from Greenfield High School where he was the catcher on its State Championship baseball team in 1932. He attended DePauw University in the Depression years of 1932-33, but could not afford to continue thereby missing the opportunity to play for DePauw’s 1933 undefeated football team. He graduated from the Benjamin Harrison Law School (now I.U. Law School at Indianapolis) in 1938. He was an Indiana Deputy Attorney General until his induction into the Army on June 2, 1941, two weeks after he and Helen were married on May 17, 1941. He was undergoing basic training at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma, when he received “confidential orders” to Washington D.C. where he became an agent with the Counter Intelligence Corps and was assigned to the Manhattan Project under the command of General Leslie Groves and was stationed at Oak Ridge, Tennessee, during the early years of WWII. He was commissioned on December 5, 1942, the day before his first son, Steve, was born, and eventually attained the rank of Captain.
Following the Normandy Invasion in 1944, he was assigned to the Office of the Military Attache at the U.S. Embassy in London and was sent to the continent where his missions included assisting in the interrogation of Albert Speer, Germany’s Minister of Armaments and War Production, concerning the sources of raw materials for the production of an atomic weapon and using the information so acquired to successfully reach a beryllium mine in Plauen, Czechoslovakia ahead of the Russian Army. His most interesting and important assignment was as part of the Alsos Mission in which he was placed in charge of the Chateau du Facqueval in Huy, Belgium, where Werner Heisenberg and other captured German scientists were being held for the purpose of obtaining information on their work on Germany’s atom bomb project. He was in Paris on August 6, 1945, when he received a message from General Groves with the code word “Valhalla” to indicate America had dropped the bomb on Japan.
He was discharged from the Army in October, 1945, and returned to Greenfield where he joined Glen Williams in the practice of law as the firm, Davis and Williams. In 1948, he was chairman of the Hancock County Democratic Party and had the opportunity to introduce President Harry Truman when the President made a stop in Greenfield on his campaign train. He was President of the Hancock County Bar and District Bar Associations.
George was a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, a member of the Indiana Supreme Court Committee on the Rules of Practice and the Indiana Code Revision Committee, and proudly presided as a judge of the Tri-State Moot Court competition between law schools in Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio. He was elected Judge of the Hancock County Circuit Court in 1960 where he served for eighteen years, running opposed for each of his three terms. Following retirement from the bench, he joined his son Jim in the practice of law until he finally retired for good in 1996. In February of this year the Hancock County Bar Association established the George Beamer Davis Distinguished Jurist Award and made him the first recipient. Other accomplishments included being Greenfield City Attorney, Commander of Hancock American Legion Post #119, President of the Greenfield Country Club, member of the Greenfield Library Board, Board of Directors of the Greenfield Boys Club, and member of the Board of Managers of the Indiana Bar Association. Additionally, he was a member of Greenfield Christian Church.
He was a man of integrity and intelligence, a great story teller, and possessed a wonderful sense of humor. His family will miss him greatly but will cherish their memories and their good fortune to be descended from a unique human being.
Visitation will take place from 4 until 8 p.m. on Thursday, July 19, 2012, at Erlewein Mortuary, 1484 W. U.S. 40, Greenfield, IN, 46140. Funeral services will take place at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, July 20, 2012, at the mortuary.
His family expresses their gratitude to the staff at Prairie Lakes Nursing Home and St. Vincent Hospital for their compassionate care. Friends may share a memory or send a condolence at www.erleweinmortuary.com or email condolences to firstname.lastname@example.org.