Richard MacNeal “Dick” Davis, 92, was born Dec. 16, 1928, and passed away Wednesday, April 14, 2021 at his Wall Township home.
Born in Spring Lake Heights to U.S. Army Capt. Herbert L. and Helen [MacNeal] Davis, Mr. Davis was a Boy Scout, a 1946 graduate of Manasquan High School, and a member of the United Methodist Church. He served as a councilman in Brielle for 11 years [1973-1984], and his entrepreneurial pursuits spanned more than seven decades.
Mr. Davis began buying, repairing and re-selling cars at age 13. He worked as a mechanic and auto/truck salesman in the 1940s and 50s. He founded Dick Davis Auto Sales in 1956, selling new Peugots, Renaults and Ramblers as well as pre-owned vehicles. Mr. Davis served on the national Dealer Advisory Board for American Motors, and in 1972 achieved a lifelong goal of becoming a General Motors dealer. He owned and operated Dick Davis Pontiac and Custom Classic Cars, both in Brielle, and was active in automotive endeavors well into his late 80s.
As a young man, Mr. Davis was also an avid stock car racer, serving as founder and president of the Shore Race Club. During the height of his racing career in the 1950s, Mr. Davis held the track record at Langhorne [Pennsylvania] Speedway, the fastest one-mile dirt track in the region. He was a seven-time modified division feature winner at Wall Stadium, and competed throughout New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. In 2000, Mr. Davis received the Pioneer Award from the Garden State Vintage Stock Car Club.
Mr. Davis earned his private pilot’s license at 16, and later became a commercial pilot with multi-engine and instrument ratings. A veteran of the U.S. Air Force, he attained the rank of Staff Sergeant and trained fellow pilots in instrument procedures. He was president of the New Jersey Aviation Trades Association, and for many years operated Davis Aviation out of Asbury Airport, where he sold new Champions as well as pre-owned aircraft. He was also a longtime member of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association [AOPA]. Over the course of his 60-year aviation career, Mr. Davis logged thousands of flight hours and owned more than 50 aircraft.
In the 1980s, Mr. Davis owned and operated a marina in Brielle, where he sold Jersey, Bluewater, and Seacoast yachts. He later built Hidden Harbor, a 52-unit townhome community in Point Pleasant, and developed several other properties in the southern Monmouth County area. Mr. Davis never retired, relishing hard work and fresh air. Mr. Davis was also a member of the Manasquan River Golf Club from 1965 until 1990.
Mr. Davis is survived by his two daughters, Cathy Carlson, Brick Township, and Jodi MacNeal, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida; granddaughter Suzanne Campbell and her husband Ryan, Manasquan; grandson Joshua MacNeal, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida; great-grandchildren Davis and Elizabeth Campbell; and his devoted partner, Catherine Sergel. He was predeceased by his daughter Nancy Davis in 1981, and his brother, Herbert L. Davis Jr., in 2015.
Family And friends are invited to attend a visitation on Friday, April 23 from 12 to 3 p.m. at Orender Family Home for Funerals 2643 Old Bridge Road Manasquan, NJ 08736 with a funeral service to begin at 2:45 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family welcomes memorial contributions to either The Samaritan Center at the Jersey Shore 36 South Street Manasquan, NJ 08736, or to Adopt-A-Family of the Palm Beaches in Lake Worth, Florida. To send condolences to the family please visit http://www.orenderfamilyhome.