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PJC receives large estate gift for Red River County students

Published or Revised July 31, 2015

John Tate Davis

John Tate Davis in his Paris Junior College football uniform, from the 1950 PJC yearbook Galleon.

A memorial gift created in 1995 for one Red River County scholarship led to a recent estate gift to Paris Junior College of nearly $1 million, all to benefit students from Red River County.

John Tate and Reva Davis created an endowed scholarship at Paris Junior College in 1995 for students of the Rivercrest Independent School District in memory of their late son, Stanley Tate Davis, who was killed in an accident.

A native of Talco, John Tate Davis died November 12, 2001. His widow, Reva recalled, “He wanted to help people in that part of the country who didn’t have a chance to get ahead. It didn’t matter if it was an ‘A’ or ‘C’ student who received the scholarship as long as they wanted to try.” That initial $5,000 endowment created a scholarship that continues to be awarded annually to a graduating senior from Rivercrest High School, alternating between a Bogata and Talco resident every other year.

When John Tate Davis played football at Paris Junior College in 1949-50, he had an opportunity to excel academically and athletically. His athletic prowess earned him All-American honors at PJC and the opportunity to play at the University of Tennessee. Davis was inducted into the PJC Athletic Hall of Fame in 1990 and the Academic Hall of Honor in 1999.

Davis’ sister and her husband, Verbeth and Ezra Coe, passed away in 2003 and 2013 respectively. They left a significant portion of their estate to Paris Junior College’s Memorial Foundation to be added to the endowment bearing their nephew’s name, Stanley Tate Davis. Mrs. Coe grew up in Talco but called Tuckerman, Arkansas home for a number of years.

Mr. Coe was a native of Tuckerman, Ark., and a graduate of Arkansas State University. He was a World War II veteran and an engineer by profession. Mrs. Coe was a graduate of Texas Woman’s University in Denton and taught English at Tuckerman High School for a number of years.

“Mr. and Mrs. Coe came from humble backgrounds,” according to Jerry Burchfield, CPA, and a trustee for the Coe Estate. “They worked hard, spent little, traveled for their enjoyment and pastime, and were very conservative in their investments.”

“The legacy Mr. and Mrs. Davis put in place twenty years ago has provided an annual award for a graduating Rivercrest senior each year,” said PJC President Dr. Pamela Anglin. “Their thoughtfulness will pay dividends for decades to come. What began as one $250-300 award to one student will now provide 50 or more scholarships each year for Red River County high school graduates.”

Anglin said the total gift to the PJC Memorial Foundation from the Coe Estate represents one-third of their nearly $3 million bequests to higher education institutions.

Mrs. Davis, who lives outside Knoxville, Tenn., added, “John would have been so happy. He loved Texas and PJC and would be pleased at the opportunities the endowment has created.” 

“Generous donors like the Davises and Coes have opened so many doors to opportunity for PJC students through the years,” Anglin said. “We welcome the opportunity to speak with anyone seeking to leave a gift to serve the College and students. Such gifts allow PJC to tell a story like that of the Davises or Coes. Our scholarship recipients are told how their scholarship came about, and it sparks their interest in helping other students when they complete their academic or workforce training and enter their careers.”

Those interested in learning how to establish an endowment or make a gift to PJC is encouraged to contact the Office of Institutional Advancement and Alumni Affairs, (903) 782-0276.

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