On May 20, 2020, the earth lost an Angel of God, when Reverend Richard Patrick Davis, 83 of Bigelow, Arkansas, was peacefully called back to Heaven. “Father Richard” was born on Feb. 21, 1937, in Pocahontas, Arkansas, to William Stuart Davis and Katherine Davis (Schmidt) of Jonesboro, Arkansas.

Father Richard graduated from Jonesboro High School in 1955 and St. Johns Seminary in 1963. Although he was not ordained a Catholic Priest until May 18, 1963, he gave his entire life to God. During his 57 years as a Catholic Priest, Father Richard performed over 700 baptisms, over 500 funerals and over 500 weddings.

His first assignment was as associate pastor of Holy Redeemer in El Dorado. In 1964, Father Davis became associate pastor of Saint Patrick in North Little Rock, chaplain of Saint Vincent Infirmary, and religion teacher at Mount Saint Mary’s Academy.

He served as associate pastor of Christ the King and Saint Leo in Hartford from 1970-1976. During his ministry in Fort Smith, Father Davis taught religion and served as a chaplain for Saint Anne’s Mercy Convent, taught religion in Saint Anne’s Academy. With the closing of Saint Anne’s Academy, Father Davis helped to found the TARE (Teen Aged Religious Education), which for over two decades assisted young adults in the Arkansas River Valley to grow in their faith.

He received his first pastorate in 1976 when Bishop Andrew McDonald assigned Father Davis to Saint Elizabeth in Eureka Springs Arkansas where he served until 1979. He served as pastor of Saint Saint James in Searcy, Saint Albert in Heber Springs (1979-1983), Saint Paul in Pocahontas (1983-1987), Saint John in Engelberg, Saint Joseph in Corning, and St. George in Knobel (1987-1989), Saint Mary in Paragould (1989-1996). In 1996 until his death, Father Davis served as pastor of Saint Boniface in New Dixie, Saint Francis in Little Italy, and Saint Elizabeth in Adona (1996-2020). In addition to his parish ministry, Father Davis served the Diocese of Little Rock as Dean of the Northeastern Deanery and a variety of boards and councils.

For the past 24 years, “Father Richard” has served as Pastor of three Catholic Parishes, St. Boniface of Bigelow/New Dixie, St. Elizabeth’s of Oppelo and St. Francis of Little Italy. A Vigil and Rosary was held at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 26th at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Conway, AR; and the Funeral Mass was held at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, May 27th, at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Conway. Arrangements were by Harris Funeral Home of Morrilton.

Father Richard is predeceased by his parents and his sister Virginia Davis Cunningham (Heard) of Jacksonville, Florida.

He is survived by his sister, Carolyn Davis Johnson (Aden) of Jonesboro, Arkansas; niece, Leslie Cunningham Layton (Charles) of Jacksonville, Florida; nephews, Chris Johnson, Jonesboro, Timothy Johnson (Robin Smith) of The Finch Community, Gregory Johnson (Sandra Hathcoat) of Jonesboro; great nieces and nephews, Logan Marie Johnson of Walnut Ridge, Dalyn Johnson (Laura Basinger) of The Finch Community, Madison Claire Johnson of Jonesboro, Bayne Stone Johnson of Walnut Ridge; and William Timothy Johnson of The Finch Community.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Virginia Davis Cunningham’s memory to: UF Foundation, ALS Research, PO 100243, Gainesville, FL 32610. Designate “Ginny Cunningham ALS Research” on the memo line. Or In Memory of Katherine Davis to: Arkansas Alzheimer’s Association, 10201 W. Markham Street, Suite 100 Little Rock, AR 72205. Online Guestbook: www.harrisfuneralhomes.net

Staff writer Marisa Hicks can be reached at mhicks@thecabin.net.

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