In Memoriam: William R. Davis

by The Cowl Editor on February 25, 2021

In Memoriam


William Davis’s legacy is survived on campus through the residence hall that bears his name.
Photo courtesy of Providence College.

by Hannah Langley ’21

News Co-Editor

As members of the Providence College community, we all know Davis Hall. Whether you have personally lived there or not, the residence hall is one of the first buildings you see when entering campus from the Huxley Gate, making it a notable landmark for many. 

On Tuesday, Feb. 9, William R. Davis, Esq.’52, ’91Hon. passed away peacefully in his home at the age of 90. In addition to being the namesake of a building on campus, Davis had a rich history with the College. 

Growing up in Connecticut, Davis attended Weaver High School before coming to PC in 1948. Davis graduated magna cum laude from PC, was a platinum Torch Bearer in the 1917 Society, and was also a member of the Harkins Society. 

Following his graduation from PC, he went to the University of Connecticut School of Law and received his law degree in 1955. He then partnered with Attorney Leon RisCassi to form their firm, RisCassi & Davis, in Hartford, CT, where he worked for 65 years. 

Davis gave back to the College in several ways. In 1985, he and his late wife, Doris O. Davis, established the William & Doris Davis Scholarship Fund to aid incoming PC students from Hartford who needed financial assistance. He served on the board of trustees for the College from 1992-2002, as well as on the PC Corporation. In 1994, Davis Hall was dedicated in his and his wife’s name in recognition of their long-standing support of the College. 

Davis is remembered by those who knew him as humble, kind, compassionate, charitable, and helpful, among other virtues. He had a deep love and appreciation for baseball and football, as he was an athlete himself, running and walking numerous marathons. He was considered to be a mentor, true gentleman, great lawyer, and friend to all who knew him. 

Mr. Davis is survived by his son, Russell J. Davis, and daughter-in-law, Susan, as well as four stepchildren, eight grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, and several nieces, nephews, and cousins. He was predeceased by his wives Doris O. Davis and Joanne Gleason, and by his two daughters Carolyn Davis ’79 and Alyce Davis Knapp. 

A walk-through wake was held at the Molloy Funeral Home in West Hartford, CT on Monday, Feb. 15 from 4–7 p.m., where friends and family paid their respects while socially distanced. A Mass of Christian Burial was held the following morning at 10 a.m. at the Church of St. Timothy in West Hartford, CT, as well.