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Idaho Enterprise

Oneida County Hall of Fame inducts Melvin Joe Davis

The Oneida County Hall of Fame will once again host a dinner and induction ceremony this year after three years of not holding the program due to the pandemic. The event will be on Tuesday, May 23, at 6:00 p.m. at the Oneida County Event Center.  A catered meal by Marla Jones will be served, followed by the induction of M. Joe Davis and Terrill Schwartz to the Hall of Fame. 

Tickets are $25 and can be purchased at the door.  However, in order to have a count for the meal, please contact Susan Wittman at Malad City Office (208-766-4010) by May 10 to reserve your seat at this very special event.

M. Joe Davis

Melvin Joseph Davis, legendary history and government teacher for over 30 years at Malad High School, will be inducted to the Oneida County Hall of Fame for his accomplishments in Education.

Joe Davis was born in Samaria, Idaho, on April 10, 1927, to Melvin M. and Mabel W. Davis.  Growing up as a farm boy, he developed a strong work ethic. He would live almost his entire life in Samaria.

He attended school in Samaria and then Malad, graduating from Malad High School in 1945. He was drafted into the United States Army in 1946 because of the Korean War and spent seven months at Camp Roberts in California.

After his short stint in the Army, he returned home to attend Utah State University, graduating in 1950 with a major in political science and a minor in psychology. He later earned a master’s degree in educational administration.

Joe’s first teaching job was at the Samaria School where he served as principal while teaching grades 5 through 8 for an annual salary of $2400.  His brother Lynn, who was 11 years younger, was one of his students, and that year was difficult for both of them.

After two years teaching in Samaria, he moved to Malad Junior High School where he taught 7th and 8th grade social studies and math for five years.

In 1959 Joe Davis found his niche as the history and government teacher at Malad High School. Every junior and senior at Malad High had Mr. Davis for those two required classes, and he conveyed his knowledge and enthusiasm for these subjects to his students.  He took his classes to Boise every year to observe the Idaho Legislature in action. He served as senior class adviser.

While teaching at Malad High, he married Emma Louise Carter, a fellow teacher. Together, they raised a daughter, Jacqueline, and added a son, Jeff, to the family.  He and Louise chaperoned Malad students on many exchange trips to Germany.

Mr. Davis was known as a tough but fair teacher. Though he could put fear into his students, they respected and even loved him because they knew he cared about them and because they learned from his classes. History and government were not easy “A” classes.  Students never knew when he would give a pop quiz over current events.  Students learned to look over the headlines of the newspaper before going to history or government that day.

Mr. Davis said he would never flunk a student who was trying. Many struggling students received just enough extra credit to get them through his classes by going out to Samaria and working on the ranch with their teacher. More than one former student would say that they would never have graduated without Mr. Davis’s generosity.

Because Joe appreciated how government worked at all levels, he was involved in civic and community affairs. He counted state politicians and community leaders as his friends.  He was a member of the Lions Club for many years and served as the Chair of the Oneida County Idaho Centennial Committee.

Joe was active in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, serving in many positions in his Samaria Ward, including as Bishop.

Outside of school, he continued to raise a few animals and to harvest crops on his farm in Samaria. He also sold insurance for a time. He was never idle, continuing to read and keep up with current events throughout his life.

After 41 years as a teacher, influencing thousands of students, Joe retired in 1992. He and Louise spent that winter in Arizona. On August 2, 1993, Joe Davis died as a result of a vehicle accident in his beloved Samaria.

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