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John C. Davies

B.S.Wood Utilization, 1952; Master of Forestry, 1957

John C. Davies earned a B.S. degree in Wood Utilization in 1952. As an undergraduate, he was an active member of the Sylvan staff, Alpha Zeta Fraternity, and Pershing Rifles, the Penn State Drill Team. He served in the Air Force for two years during the Korean War, and then in the Pennsylvania Air National Guard for ten years. He returned to Penn State in 1954 and completed a master’s degree in 1957, specializing in wood utilization.

Davies’ career started in forest products sales, and he was employed first by a plywood company for three years. Next he worked as salesman for a small brokerage firm that specialized in selling various types of forest products including hardwood lumber, high-grade hardwood plywood, hardwood dimension materials, panels, and parts to manufacturers of kitchen cabinets, furniture, and other items. He joined that firm as a partner in 1963, and became the sole owner of Mell-Davies Lumber Company in 1974. The company is a wholesaler of hardwood forest products throughout the eastern United States and in Europe. Davies found it to be a very interesting and challenging business, resulting in many more successes than disappointments. In seeking a suitable supplier for every customer, the challenge was in keeping both of them satisfied. Davies retired in 1992 and sold the business to one of his sons, who had joined him in 1987 after being in banking for nine years.

In the late 1980s, Davies joined the external advisory committee of the School of Forest Resources’ Maurice K. Goddard Chair in Forestry and Environmental Resource Conservation, and served until 1992.

Davies, his wife Esther, and their three sons lived for many years in suburban Philadelphia, and were very active in their community and local church. Davies served as secretary of the board of trustees of the Methodist Hospital in Philadelphia, and held leadership positions with the local YMCA and the Boy Scouts.

The Davies family and friends endowed the Keith A. Davies Memorial Scholarship in the College of Agricultural Sciences in 1990, in memory of their son. The scholarship is intended for undergraduate students enrolled or planning to enroll in the School of Forest Resources, selected according to promise of superior academic achievement, demonstration of outstanding qualities of citizenship, and participation in extracurricular activities. First consideration is given to wood products majors, and then to residents of southeastern Pennsylvania. Davies said, "Support of the university is, to us, the most appropriate means of service. Penn State has played an invaluable role in my involvement in the forest industry, and we hope to help future industry enthusiasts take advantage of the tremendous opportunities available there."

In 2007, Davies was named a Distinguished Fellow of the Mont Alto Campus, Penn State.

April 2009