Harvey Davids, of Crandon, was recently selected as Elder of the Year by the Wisconsin Indian Education Association."You have made your tribe and all of the Wisconsin Tribal Education community in the state very proud of you. Your achievements and your strength to educate yourself and others are outstanding," the award letter praised.
The Elder of the Year award was presented at the annual WIEA Conference-Awards Banquet at the University of Wisconsin-Superior campus.
Harvey enrolled at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay in taking 10 credits. He is finishing the last three of the ten credits this summer and will enroll in more classes in the fall.
"If you’re over 80 years old you begin to loose your memory periodically, comprehension is also on the decline, and your train of thought drifts off; so that you suddenly can’t remember what you were just thinking. I can read a chapter of the text and promptly forget what I read. Yes, it takes me sometimes five or six times to reread an assignment before I finally get the message, good news, I do get it. My grades have been in the 90's percentile. I’ve got to give God praise for it though; I pray daily for better memory and for more comprehension," Harvey said.
Interviewed by Teleka Davids Dewing
Harvey Davids was born on February 3, 1919 in Morgan Siding. His parents were Julius Davids and Priscilla Coulon Davids (Oneida/Brothertown-enrolled at Oneida).
Davids said he was named after his Uncle Fred Coulon’s sister, Francis, but he didn’t find out his name was Francis until he applied for Social Security. "My birth name was Francis Harvey Davids and the name that I went by was and still is Harvey Archie Davids," said Davids.
He has four siblings, Fred and Erma live in Shawnee, Kansas and Centerville, Ohio respectively, but sadly, his brother, Harold and sister, Arlene passed away.
Although Davids was raised on the Stockbridge reservation, he also lived in Crandon and Oneida as a child. He said he enjoyed swimming and playing baseball when he was a child, and Davids said he also enjoyed playing with the neighborhood kids, which happened to be all girls.
Davids attended Tomah Indian School from the age of nine until 13. Then he went to Central High School in Evansville, Indiana and then attended the University of Evansville in Evansville, Indiana from 1946 to 1949.
He was a Sergeant in the United States Army. Davids was drafted in 1941 in Sheboygan, Wisconsin and did his basic training in Arkansas. Later he went to Ft. Warren, Wyoming for medical technologist training and then to Camp Breckenridge, Kentucky to build an evacuation hospital. Davids was once again relocated to Lompoc, California for new evacuation hospital training and maneuvers. After that he went to South Carolina to rest and wait before going overseas. He was deployed to Germany, France and England and then discharged in 1945.
After his time in the service, he traveled for eight months. One trip was to Monaco, a country in the South of France on the Mediterranean Sea. Harvey says it was gorgeous. He also traveled to Lake Constance, Switzerland. Lake Constance borders Austria, Switzerland and Germany. In addition he went to Vancouver, British Columbia and saw the Butchart Gardens, "They were gorgeous too," Davids said.
Davids says his most memorable trip was when he was stationed in Hanover, Germany. "We went to Switzerland on the Autobahn and visited the Kaiser Prince Wilhelm Castle. I actually saw the prince that day," he said.
After the army and traveling, Davids worked at a Hospital in Evansville, Indiana for three years and then went to pharmacy school. While attending school he worked at night at International Harvesters and went to school during the day for two years.
When he received his Pharmacy Certificate he worked as a Pharmaceutical Rep. for four years while simultaneously pastoring a church in Bloomington, Illinois. He continued pastoring the church for two years after he quit selling pharmaceuticals.
After that, Davids moved to Normal, Illinois for a year, and then Springfield, and then Decatur before moving to California to work with Christian Education and Christian Schools. He did that for eight years when he moved to Ohio to Ohio to work with Rex Humbard and the Cathedral of Tomorrow in the Stewardship Division. He worked there for 10 years and then moved to Washington to work in Christian Education and Christian Schools.
He stayed in Washington working with Christian Education and Schools for 23 years and then moved to Crandon, Wisconsin in 2002. There he is on staff with Midwest Indian Mission, Inc. "I fill the pulpit, do visitation and upkeep the grounds at the mission and at church," Davids said.
Davids received his Pharmacy School Certificate in Memphis Tennessee in 1950. Davids was ordained with the Bethel Ministerial Association in Bloomington, Illinois in 1952. In addition he attended the University of California for a credit in Estate Planning and he received an Honorable Doctorate of Christian Education at the School of Christian Education - Andrew Baptist College in Sacramento, California in 1978. Davids also received an Honorable Doctorate of Laws from the Andrew Baptist College in Sacramento, California in 1979.
In addition, Davids received an Honorable Doctorate of Christian Education from the Sacramento Baptist College, California in 1979. And finally, in January 2006, he enrolled and is currently attending classes at the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay. He says what he liked most about school was that he liked to study.
Davids said he was married to Jessie Lee Nichols on August 18, 1943 in Lompoc, California where he was stationed while in the Army. He said they were married 62 years when she passed away on Nov. 4, 2005. He said he met Jessie in church in Evansville, Indiana. Davids explained that he was stationed at Camp Breckenridge, Kentucky and he would go across the river to Evansville, Indiana on weekend passes. "I was looking for a church to attend and ended up attending her church located in Evansville."
Harvey and Jessie had two children, Ronald and Teleka. Ronald passed away in 2001 at age 49 and Teleka and her husband Don currently reside in Crandon, Wisconsin. They gave Davids three grandchildren Micah, Adam and Benjamin; and nearly eight great grandchildren. Chase, Jonah, Maacah, Grace, Isaac, Malachi, Hope, and a new baby is due this November.
He says he enjoyed raising his kids and he continues to enjoy his grandchildren and great grandchildren.
For the youth of the community, Davids says, "Take care of your life while on earth. You only have one life to live, live it more abundantly."