The testimony of music and arts is the way the names and sentiment live on, legacies passed down through stories and song, through the voices that deliver both so well. The mountain area was blessed for decades to have such a gifted storyteller in John Davis, who served the Evergreen Players in multiple capacities for over 50 years.
John passed away on January 15, and the Colorado arts community is grieving this significant loss. Evergreen Players is the longest continually running theater company in the entire state, and much of its growth, success and culture points back to John’s efforts, along with his wife, Kathleen. When the Davises moved to Evergreen in 1966, they spotted an article in the Canyon Courier announcing a volunteer meeting for a community theater group. They attended with enthusiasm and built the sustainable model that has remained the Players’ infrastructure for decades. “Their vision guided the organization through many ups and downs. They worked tirelessly to create leadership roles and divide responsibilities so the organization’s success wasn’t reliant on any single individual,” a spokesperson for Evergreen Players said. Throughout the years, John served as president and vice president of the board of directors, lighting designer, technical director and treasurer.
Though John’s foresight and acumen set the company up for success, he will be remembered more for the delight he found in performing. The arts were his passion, but his love of theater was compounded by his family’s shared interest. “Theater involvement is a family affair for John and Kathleen,” said a press release from Evergreen Players. “In 1967, they starred together in ‘Mary, Mary,’ and in the late 70s, their two daughters, Anna and Jamie, joined them on the stage in ‘The King and I.’ Since then, they performed in [many] shows together, separately, and with their children and grandchildren.”
John was in the spotlight, but he worked tirelessly behind the scenes as well. His efforts to build up Evergreen Players and the Colorado arts community never ceased. Aside from his many roles at Evergreen Players, John served on the board of directors for the Colorado Community Theater Coalition, was a member of the Evergreen Arts Council, and was appointed to several committees with the American Association of Community Theaters (AACT). His years of service earned him a “Arts Person of the Year” by the Evergreen Area Council for the Arts in 2001, and in 2018, AACT named him a fellow. John’s goal was to support and promote the arts because he loved it so deeply himself—and he wanted others to have the same shot at this love.
An outpouring of condolences, love and memories flooded social media posts sharing his passing, all confirming his contagious, generous and bright spirit. “It was always such a joy to see John. His support and kindness had a way of lifting you up, always. His genuine love for the Evergreen Players and all who stepped onto the stage was ever apparent. His smile shined brighter than the lights themselves,” wrote one commenter on Instagram, a perfect summary of how John touched so many lives both on stage and off.
John is survived by his wife of 56 years Kathleen Davis, his two daughters, Jamie (Jeff) Lewallen of Evergreen, and Anna (Dexter) Chow of Menlo Park, CA, his four grandkids, Gabriel Jonathan Chow, Sam Beatrice Kenney, Leon Halaki Chow and Patrick John Kenney, and his three brothers, Gary Davis of Sonoma, CA, Lee Davis, Ludlow, VT and Richard Davis, Loveland, CO.
To learn more about John’s life and his impact on Colorado arts, please visit everloved.com/life-of/john-h-davis.