Park to be named after Cooper vice chair

The Cooper University Hospital Board of Trustees vice chairwoman, part of a power couple who have held top governmental posts over the years, will be honored with her very own park Thursday.

The 7th Street park on the corner of Benson Street, Outside the Cooper University Hospital Emergency Department, will be named the Joan S. Davis Park in recognition of “Davis’ service to the City of Camden as a civic and community leader.”

Camden City Council passed a resolution in February agreeing to name the park after Davis, following a recommendation from Cooper.

The park-naming suggestion was for her “years of service to the community in so many capacities,” said Cooper Foundation CEO Susan Bass-Levin. “She has made a difference in so many lives.”

A former educator and financial analyst, Davis has held leadership positions at the Camden Free Public Library, CAMcare Health Corporation, Delaware River Port Authority, Home Port Alliance for the USS New Jersey, Cooper’s Ferry Development Corporation and the Camden Redevelopment Agency.

Davis, 75, lives in Camden’s Parkside neighborhood with her husband Theodore Z. Davis, 79, the retired judge who took over as Camden’s state-appointed chief administrator during the state takeover of the city.

In a 2009 Inquirer article, Joan Davis said her husband's selection to be Camden’s chief had nothing to do with political connections.

"I don't do anything political," she said. "Never have, and I'm too old to do it now."

In August 2009, Theodore Davis quit his Camden COO job without explanation, weeks after suggesting that the takeover could last until about 2030. Since then, the couple has been out of the political limelight.

Joan Davis, who has served 19 years on the Cooper board, has continued to serve alongside Cooper’s chairman, George E. Norcross III, a longtime South Jersey Democratic leader. Norcross is part-owner of the company that owns The Inquirer.

Davis joins the ranks of those affiliated with the county Democrat machine who have had buildings and parks named after them. (Read my previous story on the Teddy Hinson garage HERE.)

The Cooper Health System and The Cooper Foundation will hold a park dedication ceremony at 1 p.m. Thursday.