Jesuit Father Leo D. Davis died on June 19, 2014, at Alderwood Manor in Spokane, Washington. He was 84. A wise, witty and well-respected university professor, his teaching career in the field of church history spanned over 30 years and led him to university lecture halls in the U.S. and Europe.
The eldest of two brothers, Leo Donald Davis was born in Havre, Montana, on January 27, 1930, to Leo and Mary (Steiner) Davis. After attending Gonzaga University for three years, he entered the Jesuit Novitiate at Sheridan in Oregon in August 1951 and followed the regular course of studies and training.
In 1958 Fr. Davis began a three-year period of teaching at Jesuit High School in Portland, Oregon. There he was a highly dedicated, enthusiastic and popular teacher — well-liked and respected by students, parents and fellow faculty members alike. In 1961 he went to study theology in Rome. He was ordained a priest on July 18, 1964, at the Gesu Church in Rome.
Having an aptitude for university teaching, Fr. Davis obtained advanced degrees in history from Gonzaga University and the Gregorian University (Rome). Fr. Davis also completed a doctorate in history from the University of Wisconsin (Madison). His teaching assignments led him to Gonzaga University, Weston School of Theology (Cambridge, Massachusetts), Xavier University (Cincinnati) and the Gonzaga-in-Florence Program (Florence, Italy).
In 2002 Fr. Davis suffered a serious stroke that took him out of the classroom; he spent the remainder of his life convalescing and in a ministry of prayer. Fr. Davis is survived by his younger brother, Dr. E. James Davis, Ph.D.; a niece and nephew; and his brother Jesuits of the Oregon Province.