28 May Statement on the Passing of Founding LEAP Member and Lansing Philanthropist Jack Davis
A Statement from LEAP President and CEO Bob Trezise
LANSING, Mich. (May 28, 2020) – There are only a handful of true giants from Lansing who truly impacted the quality of life of every person, business and organization throughout our entire three county community – an impact that has spanned across decades, weathering historic crises and celebrating times of prosperity alike. Sadly, one of those rare greats passed away today: my mentor and friend, Jack Davis.
While I am most melancholy, I know Jack’s spirit was profoundly vigorous to the end—a working attorney, a global adventurer and a community leader.
I know you all have stories of Jack as well, but I’d like to take a moment to recognize and share some of my own memories of Jack’s character and his ferocious approach to living a life in service to us all which helped grow Lansing.
Jack was a proud Eastern High School graduate, went on to Harvard and then came back; a great kid raised in the wonderful diversity of the city that he celebrated. He was a Lansing boy to the core, though he grew to love and embrace the entire Lansing region as an important regional partnership. He believed that regionalism was the only path to a prosperous future for all, especially for the city.
As board chair of the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce, Jack was co-chair and so much more. He directed the successful Keep and Retain GM efforts, which have been featured in movies and books. If not for the tenacity and diplomacy of Jack over many years with his partners Mayor Hollister, Joe Drolett, Ray Tadgerson and John Daher (and maybe me a little bit in there somewhere), there would be no GM presence or their many suppliers here today. To this day, we are the only community in North America with two new GM plants and scores of related auto suppliers. The impact of Jack’s work on our local and state economy is simply immeasurable.
Jack was also a longtime member of the Lansing School District Board, leading the district through difficult times. He loved Lansing kids, teachers and schools. He had a deep understanding about the socioeconomic challenges faced by our youngest city residents. With Kellie Dean, he helped lead the creation of the Hope Promise Scholarship.
Jack Davis was one of the critical original founders of the Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP). He served as our board chair and attended every board meeting and executive committee meeting, always engaged, asking questions, making great suggestions and providing critical guidance. His vision for LEAP has so far resulted in over $3 billion of private investment in our region, directly creating over 7,000 new good jobs for our people.
Jack was a champion in every corner of our community, but perhaps none more than the arts. From the BoarsHead Theater to the Lansing Symphony to the Lansing Art Gallery and so much more.
As everyone knows, beyond his economic development expertise, commitment to Lansing families and passion for the arts, Jack and his wife Sue were and are significant philanthropists, personally and through Loomis Law Firm. He believed in giving back. To Lansing. To all of us.
From this Lansing Sexton boy to you, the Lansing Quaker: Cheers Jack! Go bike the Alps, climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, wrestle the hippos, live the arts, read your books and keep guiding me on how to bring our Lansing region together so we can all have better and happier lives. Thank you for the decades, years, months and hours of meeting with me, talking with me and encouraging me. I could not have done it without you.
The Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) is a coalition of area leaders partnering to build a stronger community for all–working every day to grow, retain and attract business to the Lansing, Michigan, region.