Samuel Davis, 90; co-owned window-manufacturing firm

Samuel D. Davis, 90, a World War II veteran and longtime Philadelphia businessman who used his skills as a pilot to expand his window business, died of lung cancer Thursday, Dec. 23, in hospice care in Delray Beach, Fla.

After the war, Mr. Davis and his brother, Benjamin, started a window manufacturing business in Philadelphia. S.D. Davis Inc. grew to include doors and quickly expanded beyond the region.

Mr. Davis, an Army Air Corps pilot during the war, loved flying and owned a Cessna plane. He often flew to meet prospective clients in Southern states instead of driving, his son Ted said.

At its peak in the early 1980s, Mr. Davis' company had more than 100 employees.

In 1985, he retired, and sold the business to his son and nephew and moved to Delray Beach. The company was dissolved in 2000.

Mr. Davis was born in Philadelphia and raised in West Philadelphia and Upper Darby, where he graduated from high school in 1937.

After high school, Mr. Davis worked in construction for a few years before enlisting in 1941. Mr. Davis served as a bombardier, pilot, and flight instructor based in Albuquerque, N.M.

On a trip home, he met Clare Levitt through mutual friends, and they married in 1945.

Mr. Davis was honorably discharged in 1946 with the rank of captain. He returned to Upper Darby and started the storm-window business.

The company was based out of Cherry Street in Philadelphia until the early 1960s, when the brothers needed a larger space and moved operations to Port Richmond.

Described as a natural athlete and leader, Mr. Davis excelled at many sports, including golf, tennis, and bowling. He won many golf tournaments at the Woodcrest Country Club in Cherry Hill, where he was a member, his family said.

Mr. Davis was also an avid boatsman and fished all over the East Coast until months before his death, his son said.

In 1958, he was on the founding board of Temple Beth Hillel in Wynnewood. He remained a member there until moving to Cherry Hill in 1973.

In addition to his wife and son, Mr. Davis is survived by daughter Ellen Meadvin; five grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. His brother and business partner died of lung cancer in 1975.

A graveside funeral was held Sunday, Dec. 26, at Emeth Shalom Cemetery in Pleasantville, N.J.


Contact staff writer Claudia Vargas at 856-779-3917 or cvargas@phillynews.com.