Retired Hancock County Probate and Juvenile Court Judge Allan H. Davis, age 75, died peacefully at the Bridge Hospice Care Center in Findlay, Ohio shortly after noon on Tuesday, November 20, 2018. Judge Davis' tenure as the county's Probate and Juvenile Court Judge spanned more than forty (40) years, and he was believed to be the longest serving Probate and Juvenile Court Judge in Ohio's history.
Judge Davis was born in Findlay on September 17, 1943 to Richard Henry Davis and Evelyn J. (Coombs) Davis Weaver, who preceded him in death. He was especially devoted to his mother, who died last month at the age of 98.
Judge Davis is survived by his two younger brothers, Duane H. Davis of Hua Hin, Thailand, Dennis E. Davis of Wayne, West Virginia, and a nephew, Tyler Davis of San Francisco, California. He was keenly interested in Tyler's professional baseball career, and hoped that one day he would pitch for the Judge's beloved Cleveland Indians.
Except for the seven years that he was attending college and law school, Judge Davis lived his entire life in Findlay. He graduated from Findlay High School in 1961, and was voted as having the "Keenest Wit and Humor" by the members of his senior class. After high school, Judge Davis graduated from Bowling Green State University in 1965, and from Ohio Northern University Law School in 1968. While at Ohio Northern, he was elected as President of the Student Bar Association. While in law school, he clerked for noted Findlay attorney Garver Oxley, and was hired by Mr. Oxley as an associate upon admission to the Bar in November 1968.
After successfully practicing law in private practice for six years, Judge Davis was elected in November 1974 to succeed Judge Joe Diver as the Hancock County Probate and Juvenile Court Judge upon Judge Diver's retirement. Judge Davis was returned to office by the voters of Hancock County over the next 40+ years, until February of 2015, when he was 71 years old and barred by the Ohio Constitution from running for re-election. During his more than four decades on the bench, Judge Davis presided over thousands of cases involving decedents' estates, trusts, adoptions, guardianships, and juvenile traffic, delinquency, neglect and dependency, and placement cases. When asked recently what he was most proud of during his long tenure, he said that he was most proud of the establishment of the Adult Guardian Program and the CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) Program, and that "I called them as I saw them." When asked to elaborate on the latter comment, he said that while he was not perfect, he did what he thought was right according to the law and the facts of the case, and that he could live in peace with his conscience over the decisions that he had to make.
Judge Davis gained national attention on one particular case that was decided in October 2013. The case involved a man from Fostoria who had disappeared in the 1980's and had been declared dead in 1994. Several years later, he resurfaced and attempted to overturn the Order declaring him to be dead. After an evidentiary hearing, Judge Davis denied his request, and ruled that due to the circumstances of the case, Ohio law did not permit the man relief from the prior ruling that he was dead.
Perhaps Judge Davis' fondest duties as a Probate Court Judge were the granting of adoptions. At the conclusion of adoption hearings, he posed for pictures with the family, and presented each adopted child with a souvenir mini-gavel, and allowed them to bang on his desk with his real gavel. Rarely was there a dry eye in his chambers during these ceremonies.
As Probate Judge, Judge Davis appointed the Board of Trustees of the Hancock County Park District during a period which saw tremendous growth in the properties, responsibilities, and functions of the Park District.
In addition to his official duties, Judge Davis served fifteen years as a member of the L. Dale Dorney Distribution Committee, which ultimately evolved into the Findlay-Hancock County Community Foundation.
Judge Davis was a generous donor to both BGSU and ONU. He established the Allan H. Davis Lecture Hall at the ONU Law School in 2016, and more recently, he established the Allan H. Davis Computer Laboratory at BGSU.
Judge Davis was also a long time active member of Findlay Rotary Club, where he was a Paul Harris Fellow and a Forward Fund Fellow.
Judge Davis was a licensed attorney for more than 50 years, and an active member of the Findlay-Hancock County Bar Association during that time. He served on several committees of the local bar association, and was a Past President of the Association. He also served as a member of the Ohio Association of Juvenile and Family Court Judges for more than 40 years, and was a past president of that association as well. In addition, Judge Davis was a 49 year member of Elks Lodge No. 75, a member of Findlay Country Club, and a long-time member and Past President of Fort Findlay Investors, a private investment club. He was also an avid bridge player, and was noted for his exceptional sense of humor.
In 2017, Judge Davis established the Allan H. Davis Civic Education Fund through the Findlay-Hancock County Community Foundation. Its purpose is to promote the civic involvement of Findlay High School students by providing them with extracurricular activities and opportunities that will inspire them to be active participants in the performance of their civic duties. Judge Davis was also an enthusiastic volunteer in recent years while working with the FHS We the People Team and preparing them for their state and national competitions.
Judge Davis will be remembered by the attorneys who practiced before him as a friend and for his "open door" policy. He was always available to members of the Bar to help them find practical solutions to their cases and their professional and personal issues and problems.
Visitation for Judge Davis will be held at Kirkpatrick-Behnke Funeral Home in Findlay on Sunday, November 25, from 2-5:00 p.m. Funeral services for Judge Davis will take place at the funeral home on Monday, November 26, at 10:00 a.m. with Cathy Davis officiating.
Donations in memory of Judge Davis are suggested to the Allan H. Davis Civic Education Fund c/o the Findlay-Hancock County Community Foundation.