James Edward Davis
James Edward Davis
  • October 16, 1943 - October 29, 2017
  • Grand Prairie, Texas

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James Edward Davis was a mainstay of The Dallas Morning News' editorial production team with a passion for sports.

For 35 years, he was a leader on the newspaper's news desk as the staff assembled the daily newspaper from hundreds of stories and photos.

Davis, 74, died Sunday of complications from gastric cancer at Kindred Hospital-Mansfield.

Visitation will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Bean Massey-Burge Funeral Home, 2951 S. Belt Line Road in Grand Prairie. Services will be at 10 a.m. Friday at the funeral home. A graveside service at Southland Memorial Park, 1100 S.W. 3rd St. in Grand Prairie, will follow.

"He was one of the backbones of The News' layout department," said retired editor John Davenport. "He was a calming influence in the news department in all the craziness that we would encounter every night."

A standout catcher for the Grand Prairie High School baseball team, Davis tried out for the New York Mets in 1965, said his daughter Karen Dee Davis of Grand Prairie. His dream of being a big league player ended when he blew out his knee.

Davis remained active in sports, coaching his children's teams in soccer, basketball, baseball and softball. He was heavily involved in youth sports, including the Grand Prairie Girls Softball Association, his daughter said. Davis had most recently coached his grandchildren.

He wrote for Cowboys Pro magazine and once was the local official statistician for CBS Sports, work that took him to three Super Bowls.

"James was the consummate newsman," said Keith Campbell, deputy managing editor of The News. "I was always struck by his dedication to make the news pages of The Dallas Morning News as strong as they could be."

Born in Port Arthur, Davis was 2 when he moved with his family to Grand Prairie. He attended Sam Houston State University on a journalism scholarship. He also attended San Angelo State University and what is now the University of Texas at Arlington.

Davis was a sports writer at the San Angelo Standard Times and sports editor at the Irving News before joining The Dallas Morning News in 1970.

In addition to his daughter, Davis is survived his wife, Sara Davis of Grand Prairie; another daughter, Jan Davis Hall of Watauga; two sons, Jeff Davis of Plano and Joey Davis of Dallas; and six grandchildren.