Free Daily Headlines


Set your text size: A A A

Davis did not ‘do things half way’

Ron Davis Ron Davis

Ron Davis's first job in retirement was to help research and write the legal documents creating the Kenmure Property Owners Association.

After Flat Rock mayor Bob Staton recruited him for the village, Davis would spend hundreds of hours doing free legal work. He researched and wrote ordinances on cutting trees, flood prevention, hazardous structures and overgrown yards, land development and historic landmarks.
"He has done most every ordinance we have adopted since I've been on the council," Staton said. "He researches it, he drafts it, he runs it by our counsel even before it comes to the council. He's done just a superior job and he will be missed.
"We never ever considered the value because there was no reason to," he said, but he added that he would not doubt that Davis has donated "tens of thousands of dollars worth of legal time if he were in a position to bill us."
Staton, a retired attorney himself, devotes a fair amount of time to free legal work, too. "I didn't do anywhere near the amount of legal research Ron has done," he said. "He gets his teeth into something and he doesn't let go until he finds the answer."
Davis got a job out of high school with the FBI, writing programs in the early 1960s "on some of the first computers that were commercially available." He got a job with Dow Chemical at Cape Canaveral during the Apollo program, and spent 14 years in night school to earn his undergraduate and law degrees.
As the manager of Dow's U.S. litigation section, he supervised 20 attorneys and 150 people total. Later based in Geneva and Hong Kong, he managed legal affairs for the company in the Middle East and Africa and then in Japan, China, Korea, Thailand, India, Indonesia and Australia.
Staton recruited Davis for the Zoning Board of Adjustment and later the council appointed him to the seat Staton vacated when he became mayor, in 2007.
"I don't do things halfway," he said, "so if I'm going to be involved I'm going to be totally involved. If there's a need for my legal involvement, as with the village ordinances or going back to the Kenmure Property Owners Association, there was a real need for that and there was an opportunity to achieve something and likewise with the village there was an opportunity to bring the ordinances up to date and to adopt new ordinances and so therefore there was an opportunity to achieve something."
Davis's attention to detail and willingness to research "saved the village thousands of dollars," Village Administrator Judy Boleman said. "He had an emotional investment in it being done correctly. I don't know how many people have that much knowledge but also have the patience to look at things in all that detail."
Davis's draft of the village's Historic Landmarks Ordinance was so well done that county Tax Assessor Stan Duncan urged the village to send it to the Institute of Government at UNC as a model.
Davis takes pride in having served with the current council.
"I didn't know all the councils, but I can't imagine that the village has ever enjoyed a better, more hard working, knowledgeable council than the one we've had for the past six years," he said. "It's a pleasure to work with these guys. We've had our little arguments here and there but most of the time, what we have adopted and voted on, we've agreed on and moved on.
"One of the reasons I felt I should not run was because we have currently today over 40 years of village experience on the current council and there's a possibility most of that will be gone in the beginning of 2016 (after the terms of the mayor and three more council members expire). By my stepping aside this year, it will allow someone else to come on the council before that happens. ... I am quite pleased with the experience of the new council members. I think they will be an asset."
In his second retirement, Davis, 74, hopes to spend more time playing golf (he never rides a golf cart), fishing and hunting, researching local history and putting stories and photos on a website he created.
"I have hundreds and hundreds of pictures of the French Broad River and historic homes," he said. "I've got a lot of family pictures I want to preserve and organize for the family. I won't be sitting around wondering what to do."