Garrison Holt Davidson Jr., 82, died on Christmas Eve, December 24, 2017 in Ithaca, NY after a long struggle with Alzheimer’s Disease. His family will be celebrating his life on on Saturday, April 7th at St Brendans Church in Los Angeles at 11am and shared the following obituary with the Buzz.
Gary was born on December 12, 1935 in Newburgh, New York to Lt. Gen. Garrison “Gar” Holt Davidson and Verone Greunther Davidson when they were first stationed at West Point. The family lived in many places over the years from Hawaii to Washington D.C. At Cornell University, Gary was a member of the varsity baseball team, Phi Delta Theta, and Navy ROTC. Upon graduation, he served in the Pentagon for two years. He married his first wife Janet Toll and they settled in Los Angeles in 1959. They were married nearly 30 years and resided with their family on Ridgewood Place in the Larchmont area. He married Marjan (Janie) Carasik in 2003 and moved to the East coast.
Gary was a fantastic father to his four children, always encouraging their interests and sharing his own boyish enthusiasm for sports. He coached their Little League and other sports teams. He touched the lives of many young people who have now passed Gary’s unique legacy of kind fatherly instruction to their own children. He taught them to win and lose with equal grace. Gary continued his passion for athletics all his life. For many years, he joyfully played on his adult sons’ slow pitch softball team (the Wheezers)on the dusty diamonds of Los Angeles. He also played a great game of tennis into his later seventies.
Gary spent his working career as a financial auditor for several companies, eventually retiring from Iron Mountain Records Management in 2003. He was proud of his forty years of service as a board member of the International Institute of Los Angeles. This is a large organization dedicated to helping refugees and immigrants get a good start and feel welcome in their new country. Gary delighted in the community of St. Brendan’s Catholic Church and the activities of its Men’s Club. He also loved playing tennis at the Los Angeles Tennis Club where he was a member for many years. He was also a member of the Salt Air Club (aka Dirty Thirties) for most of his adult life.
At his 45th Cornell reunion in 2003, he met classmate Marjan (Janie) Carasik, who had been a widow for three years. She possessed the same kind spirit, community values, and dedication to family that he did. That fall, Gary and Janie were married in South Egremont, Massachusetts surrounded by all of their children. Each was lovingly welcomed into the other’s family.
After spending four active, and joyful years in South Egremont, Janie and Gary moved to Kendal at Ithaca. Gary cherished his City Club membership and the friends and activities at Kendal and beyond. He attended weekly mass at St. Catherine of Siena parish. Gary’s health challenges became clear in 2010 and in 2015 he was moved to the nursing facility at Kendall where he lived until his death. Fr Joe Marcoux, Rabbi Walt and our children were at his bedside in Gary’s last days, each bringing blessings, prayers and peace.
Gary is survived by his wife, Marjan Schneider Carasik, his children, Karen (Jerry) Barnett, Garr Davidson, Greg (Helen Wilmot) Davidson, Jennifer Davidson, his children acquired by marriage, Rimme (Jonathan) Buck, Lauren (Christopher Norman) Carasik, and Michael Jaffe, as well as his grandchildren, Michael and Evan Barnett, Jane and Catherine Davidson, Rory and Tierna Davidson, Zoë and Alea Buck, and Emily, Maya, Anna, and Elijah Norman. Gary is also survived by all his siblings, Tom (Connie) Davidson, Alan “Skip” Davidson, Linda Hurst, Bonny (Ken Durell) Davidson, and Gail Davidson.
Our family welcomes your memories and stories about Gary and would love to hear from you. He will be remembered by us as being steadfast and rock solid. He was one of the kindest men we have known. He always had a twinkle in his eye. Rabbi Brian Walt said it best: “He was such a good man and it is so appropriate that he died on a day of such profound meaning to him. His goodness was rooted in his Christian faith.”
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Gary’s memory to The Garrison Holt Davidson, Jr. Fund at St. Catherine of Siena Church, 309 Siena Drive, Ithaca, NY 14850 or the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, 90 Park Avenue, 16th Floor, New York, NY 10016.
We will be celebrating his life on Saturday, April 7th at St Brendans Church in Los Angeles at 11am.
He loved and is loved. Long may he wave!