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January 12, 2012

Obituary: Shawn Marcus Davis

davisShawn Marcus Davis, a research specialist in the School of Education’s Department of Instruction and Learning, died suddenly Jan. 1, 2012, while visiting family members and friends in Denton, Texas. He was 34.

A native of Raleigh, N.C., Davis attended high school and lived in the Arlington, Texas, area before moving to Pittsburgh in 2001, where he lived with Renee Cox, his wife of 13 years.

Davis joined Pitt’s education school staff in 2006 as a data entry specialist working half-time on the former Reading First Project and half-time on the Pennsylvania Alternate System of Assessment (PASA) Project, said Davis’s supervisor Tom Bost.

The PASA project is an assessment system designed for students with significant cognitive disabilities.

Davis was responsible for sending specialized test kits to all schools in Pennsylvania.

“Shawn was a fantastic worker. He did whatever was necessary for as long as necessary no matter how hard the task was, even if meant staying late. We used to kid him that he cared more for the PASA name on the front of his shirt than he did for his own name on the back,” Bost said.

Davis also was popular among the staff in his area, he added. “Shawn was quite humorous and was very giving to everyone he was around. He just had an uplifting effect on people.”

Davis was pursuing a degree in public administration in the College of General Studies.

Family members said that Davis was a sports enthusiast and a “walking baseball encyclopedia,” who was a fan particularly of the North Carolina State Wolfpack, Texas Rangers and Pittsburgh Steelers.

Davis also loved music and guitar, and had attended a concert by his favorite band, Slobberbone, shortly before he died.

Friends said Davis showed great character and compassion in all that he did.

In addition to his wife, Davis is survived by his mother, Jean Davis; his sister, Vanessa Sadler; his grandmother, Catherine Davis; his nieces, Catlyn and Lily Davis; his nephew, Blake LaPrade, and several uncles, aunts and in-laws.

—Peter Hart

Filed under: Feature,Volume 44 Issue 9

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