Kentucky Wesleyan Mourns the Passing of Retired Professor Donald Lee Davenport

Donald Lee Davenport

Posted: Monday, May 25, 2015 12:00 am

Donald Lee Davenport, 83, of Owensboro passed away Saturday morning, May 23, 2015, at Wellington Parc. He was born Mar 14, 1932, in Washington to Jewell and Harry Davenport and graduated high school in Hastings, Michigan. He attended Central Michigan and Purdue universities where he obtained Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees. He moved to Owensboro in 1964 to become a professor of biology at Kentucky Wesleyan College, where he was awarded Teacher of the Year twice, and from which he retired in 2000. Don is credited with planting many scrubs and trees around KWC. He was passionate about his students and enjoyed taking them on camping, canoeing, cross-country skiing and marine biology trips to Belize and Jamaica. His hobbies included biking, swimming, walking the dog, working in the yard, going to the gym and, most of all, spending time with his family.

He is survived by Shirley, his wife of 62 years; his daughters, Diane (Jon) Bird and Judy (Jeff) Rumage; grandchildren Maddie and Blake Rumage; sister-in-law Jean Freeland (David Nelson); nephews and nieces Heather MacLeod, Doug (Amy) Freeland and Mike (Gloria) Freeland; great-nephews and great-nieces Lauren (Jeff), Courtney, Kristen (Chris) and Jonathan and Jacob Freeland; cousins Gerry and Fritz Mehlert and families and Janet Toigo and Chris Nolen and family. He was preceded in death by his mother and stepfather, Jewell and John Nolen; father and stepmother, Harry and Dot Davenport; brother Gary Nolen; brother-in-law Edward “Bud” Freeland; nephew David Freeland; and sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Beverly and Jack MacLeod.

Don was a corpsman in the Navy, and everyone who ever knew him enjoyed his humor and wit.

Services will be at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Chapel of James H. Davis Funeral Home & Crematory. Visitation will be from 2 to 6 p.m. Tuesday at the funeral home. Expressions of sympathy may take the form of donations to Alzheimer’s Association, 6100 Dutchman’s Lane, Louisville, KY 40205; or Kentucky Wesleyan College Biology Department, P.O. Box 1039, Owensboro, KY 42302.

Online messages of condolence may be made at

Courtesty Messenger-Inquirer