Robert Murray Davis, age 87, died September 11, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. He was born September 4, 1934 in Lyons, Kansas, the son of Mathew Cary and Elizabeth Murray Davis.
Bob grew up in Boonville, and graduated from Saints Peter and Paul High School. He earned a degree in English at Rockhurst College in Kansas City, and master’s and doctorate degrees in English literature from the University of Kansas and the University of Wisconsin. While in Wisconsin he met and married fellow PhD candidate Barbara Hillyer.
Bob’s first teaching positions were at Loyola University in Chicago, and the University of California at Davis. Bob and Barbara continued their careers at the University of Oklahoma at Norman, where Barbara was director of the women’s studies program and Bob served in many academic and administrative roles in the English Department. They adopted three children, and Bob was active with them in a local swim club, was a competitive adult swimmer, and continued his lifelong love of jazz and blues music.
He taught at five American, two Canadian and two Hungarian universities and lectured in more than a dozen countries. He published more than 20 books and numerous scholarly articles in the field of modern English and American literature and creative writing.
Bob retired from OU as Emeritus Professor of English and moved to Phoenix, where he met Elaine Brock, and they were life partners for 18 years. He continued to work as an independent writer, lecturer, and consultant.
He was preceded in death by his parents and is survived by his partner Elaine of the home; brother John (Pat) Davis and sister Beth (Bert) McClary, both of Boonville; daughter Megan (Don) Dey and grandchildren Brendan and Mia of Phoenix; son John (Alex) Davis and grandchildren Mathew and Lucas of Seattle, Washington; daughter Jennifer Davis of Okarche, Oklahoma; and a number of nieces, nephews and cousins throughout the United States.
A memorial service will be held at a future date in Boonville. Messages to the family may be left online at Richardson Funeral Home, Tempe, AZ. https://richardsonfuneralhome.org/obituaries/robert-davis.
Memorials are requested to the Center for Family Love, a program that provides lifetime residential care to developmentally disabled adults, 635 Texas Avenue, Okarche, OK 73762.
A separate article, “Robert Murray Davis, Writer” is published in this issue of the Boonville Daily News.
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