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'Buddy' Davis, Pulitzer winner, dead at 80.

Horance Gibbs Davis Jr., known affectionately as "Buddy" to colleagues and a generation of University of Florida journalism graduates, died in Gainesville, Florida, August 16 at the age of eighty.

Davis served as a B-29 officer in the Pacific theater of World War II, returned to continue his interrupted studies and went on to teach at Florida for thirty-one years until his retirement in 1985. He also wrote columns and editorials for the Gainesville Sun. He won a Pulitzer Prize for a 1971 series of editorials urging residents to exercise patience and tolerance after a judge had given the schools just thirteen days to integrate via a system of busing.

He was known on the Florida campus as a gruff taskmaster who laughed at his students when they made silly mistakes and who closed the door of his classroom one minute after the class was to start.

"I try to fix it so the pressures of the newspaper business will seem easy when you get out," he once said.

He had an unusual grading style. The student newspaper, in its eulogy, described it thus: "He handled his students' editorials with the same gravity as his own award-winning work, recording critiques of their work on cassette. Students went to the library to find their tapes, put on headphones, and listened to their teacher dissect their editorials. He kept them hanging in suspense until the very end, when he finally told them their grades"

An obituary in the St. Petersburg Times quoted a one-time critic as saying of Davis's editorials that they were "stamped with a signature of style: one that is concise and easy to read, one that retells and gives perspective on the news, a learned style that is always flavored with country wisdom"

Davis once said he was prouder of graduates who became societal critics than those who became "special pleaders."

Survivors include his wife of fifty-six years, Marjorie Davis; daughter Jennifer Nicole of Gainesville; son Gregory of Augusta, Georgia; and a granddaughter.
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Title Annotation:Member news: milestones, awards, educational opportunities
Publication:The Masthead
Article Type:Obituary
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 22, 2004
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