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Thomas Davis, 08/12/39 - 04/25/18

Memorial Service for Tom on June 9th at 2 pm to be held at Western Hills United Methodist Church on Thunderbird Drive in El Paso.

Thomas Davis, Ph.D.

Thomas Davis, Ph.D.

Obituary: Thomas Arthur Davis, PhD, (Tom), born 8/12/39 of Parents, George Henry Davis and Ellen Seegers Davis, and died 4/25/18, peacefully surrounded by family.

He was a 1957 graduate of Dreher High School and a University of South Carolina (BS – 1961 and PhD 1967). He married Pollyanna Smith in 1962, and they had 3 sons, Howard (Megan) of Columbia, SC, Brian (Costa Mesa, CA) and Ivan (Columbia, SC) and 2 grandchildren, Patrick and Regina Davis. He is survived by two brothers George H. Davis, Jr. of Columbia, SC and Dr. Charles S. (Jolly) Davis (Joann) of Annapolis, MD.

Tom's first job as a paper boy at age 9 lasted 12 years. Other jobs include US Navy, Deering Milliken (Spartanburg, SC), Southern Research Institute (Birmingham, AL), Exxon Research and Engineering (Clark and Clinton, NJ), Director of Research at Graver Water (Union, NJ), Consultant and expert Witness, Research Professor at University of SC (Columbia, SC), Director of Research in Inland Desalination (University of Texas at El Paso (El Paso, TX). He has been granted over 20 US patents. Areas include wash and wear stretch wool process, coal degasification, cement disposal, hydrogen fuel cells and technology, liquid membranes, artificial blood, body molds originally for deformed torsos but now used to protect Indy Race Car Drivers, and a process to remove arsenic, saline, and gypsum from ground water, and an auto sensor for water softeners.

Tom, a pure tenor, loved to sing and the more varied the better: barbershop, grand opera, oratorios, Gilbert and Sullivan, chorus and church solos and choir. He was a charter member of Baptist Church of the Covenant in Birmingham, AL. He served as Deacon and Moderator in many churches through the years.

He enjoyed hiking in the Mountains, Scuba diving (Great Barrier Reef, Hawaii, Caribbean), boating and solving problems. He was a humble man with a delightful sense of humor.

- Pollyanna S. Davis

Tom Davis was known to be a great inventor and had a beautiful tenor voice. Some knew him as the "singing desalter" and many were graced with his singing. He loved singing at his church, in barbershop quartets, and in the Gilbert & Sullivan shows in El Paso and Las Cruces. I have told people that I think Tom invented in his sleep - he had 18 issued patents and had some in the works before he became ill. He began his work in desalination in a state that has an abundance of water and moved to a region where water management is a way of life. He will be missed at UTEP and beyond.

– Malynda A. Cappelle

Tom was an enthusiastic researcher and a sincere colleague. He loved his work, and he loved the people with whom he worked. He truly enjoyed inventing, and he enjoyed the process of patenting and commercialization. He had a contagious smile and hearty chuckle, and he loved desserts (especially cake). We will miss him.

– Shane Walker

Tom was an energetic member of the faculty and loved the work that he did. You could clearly see his enthusiasm when he engaged on a conversation about the technical details and impact of the many research projects he directed. Many of his projects culminated in technological advancements that will surely have a positive impact on communities around the world. He will be missed.

– Cesar Carrasco


The University of Texas at El Paso
College of Engineering
Engineering Building Room A148
500 W University Ave
El Paso, TX 79968

Phone: (915) 747-6444
Fax: (915) 747-5437

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