Cover photo for Joseph R. Davison's Obituary
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Joseph R. Davison

February 28, 1951 — June 1, 2023

West Chester, PA

Joseph R. Davison

Joseph Richard Davison, 72, of West Chester, PA, passed away on Thursday, June 1, surrounded by the love of his family and friends. During his life, Joe could be described in many ways—accomplished lawyer; ambitious gardener; creative chef; enthusiastic dancer; ruthless Monopoly player; passionate baseball fan; and history buff. But of all the roles he held during his life, the one he valued most was that of family man. He was a devoted husband, father, grandfather, son, brother, uncle, and friend, and he cherished moments spent in the company of all he considered family.

From his earliest days in Wayne, Joe was a bit of a maverick and kept his parents, Jack and Millie Davison, and ten siblings on their toes. There was the Christmas morning when his parents revealed his big gift of a ride-on truck,  only to find out Joe had discovered it a month earlier and had played with it every day. Or the time he stole a pie from the windowsill of his parents’ kitchen and was hit by a car as he tried to make a stealthy getaway (he was thankfully unhurt). And during his teenage years, he invited the entire student body of Radnor High School to a party at his house celebrating his election as student council president – one week after his family had moved in.

Joe took his exuberance to the University of Virginia, where he made lifelong friends and managed to earn a political science degree in between social engagements. Shortly after graduation, while working as a Conrail conductor outside of Philadelphia, he spotted a young woman reading a book on her commute from the city and asked her out. They were married less than a year later, and for nearly 50 years, Joe and Joan shared a life filled with laughter and love.

After graduating from Villanova Law School and beginning his law career at Obermayer, Rebmann, Maxwell and Hippel, Joe struck out on his own, founding the law firm of Leonard, Tillery and Davison. Never one to shy away from a debate, Joe enjoyed the intellectual rigors of practicing law and spent a decade as a partner at LTD. Health issues took his career in a different direction, but he returned to independent practice later in life as a way to stay connected to a profession he held dear.

Joe worked to live, but his family was the focus of his life. Golf with his brothers, holidays with extended family, vacations with dozens of nieces and nephews—they all brought him joy. He loved being a father, and the spontaneity of his childhood carried over to his parenting style. Impromptu dance parties were encouraged. Backyard obstacle courses were staples. Pop-up trips to amusement parks were always a possibility. And many of these moments were captured on video thanks to the camcorder that was always charged and ready to go. When he became a grandfather, Joe—or JoePa as he was better known—was quick to get a smile from his grandkids with his silly jokes, funny dancing or freshly baked treats.

Joe enjoyed reading historical biographies, and he often returned to accounts of Winston Churchill, who once said: “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” Joe’s life reflects the many gifts of love and friendship he bestowed on others, which will be felt and remembered by all who knew him.

Joe is survived by his wife, Joan Davison, his daughters Beth Hodge (Justin), Lauren Ruggiero (Joe), Kaitlin Prosser (Nate) and Jackie Davison, and his grandchildren Lavy, Samantha, Lily, Charlotte, Avery, Joey, Miles, and Audrey. He also leaves behind eight surviving siblings, their spouses and more than 30 nieces and nephews.  

A celebration of Joe’s life will be held 1:00 PM Sunday, September 17, 2023 at The Inn at Villanova University, 601 County Line Road, Radnor, PA. Please see all details HERE

In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory may be made to the ASPCA at or to the John and Mildred Davison Radnor High School Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 8244, Radnor, PA 19087.

Or you can choose to simply honor Joe by doing as he would: read a book, jam out in the kitchen to classic rock, catch a baseball game, eat a Snickers bar and let your family and friends know how much you love them.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Joseph R. Davison, please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Sunday, September 17, 2023

1:00 - 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

The Inn at Villanova University

601 County Line Rd, Radnor, PA 19087

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