John Philip Davis


John Philip Davis, who spent a great deal of time throughout his life in Sag Harbor with his father, artist Paul Davis, died on April 11 at Ocean Medical Center in Brick, New Jersey, after a brief illness. He was 46.

Born in New York City, Mr. Davis attended both high school and college in Rhode Island, and also attended a semester at Southampton College of Long Island University. An avid runner, he was captain of his high school track team in Charlestown, Rhode Island, and later participated in college track. He also sang and played the guitar.

In 1980, he was a summer theater intern at Guild Hall in East Hampton, and began entertaining thoughts of a career as an actor. Arriving in a red sweater as a last-minute extra for “Sweet Liberty,” filmed in and around Sag Harbor, he was chosen by director Alan Alda to climb out a window in a schoolroom scene. He attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, where he began to have some success.

An artist and graphic designer, Mr. Davis worked in his father’s studio while attending to his studies, but decided he did not like sitting at a drawing table all day. Ultimately, his passion for sports and his gift for encouraging others led him to become a teacher and coach.

After receiving a bachelor’s degree in education from East Stroudsburg College in Pennsylvania, he taught elementary school in Montague, New Jersey, and later in Naples, Florida, where he earned a master’s degree from Walden University in Bonita Springs.

In 2001, he and his family moved to the Jersey Shore. At the time of his death, Mr. Davis was an exceptionally popular teacher at Sea Girt Elementary School in New Jersey, where he also coached girls softball and basketball, and was president of the Sea Girt Educational Association.

In addition to his father, he is survived by his wife of 19 years, the former Terry Van Gorden of New Jersey; two daughters, Elizabeth, 14, and Laura, 12; his mother and stepfather, Elise and Andrew Laviano of Florida and Rhode Island; his stepmother, Myrna Davis of Sag Harbor; and two brothers, Matt Davis of Sag Harbor and New York and James Laviano of Massachusetts.

The family received hundreds of Mr. Davis’s students and their parents, colleagues and friends on April 14 at O’Brien Funeral Home in Brick. Funeral services were held on April 15 at St. Martha’s Chapel in Point Pleasant. Interment followed at St. Catherine’s Cemetery in Brick.

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