Davidson, James F.

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James F. Davidson, 83, died June 5, 2008. Born October 4, 1924, in Newton, Kan., he lived and was schooled through high school in Topeka, Kan.

He attended Yale University, entering with a debating scholarship, and subsequently spent three years on active duty with the United States Naval Reserve, including graduation in Japanese from the Navy’s Oriental Language School. As a civilian again in 1946, he returned to Yale for a year and then went to Washington, D.C., as an intern with the National Institute of Public Affairs. This led to employment in the Secretariat of the Far Eastern Commission and later in the Secretariat of the Economic Cooperation Administration (Marshall Plan). With another N.I.P.A. intern, Mary Harnden, he formed a partnership that would produce forty years of co-operative work on college and university campuses and four children.

In 1951 he earned a master’s degree in economics from George Washington University, and in 1954 a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Chicago. He taught for several years at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Tenn., and then was appointed Assistant Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at that University. During this time, he also wrote dramatic works for the stage. After a Fellowship in College Administration at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich., he became Dean of the Faculty at Concord College, Athens, W.Va., in 1964 and Dean of Newcomb College of Tulane University in New Orleans, La., in 1969. In 1977 he returned to full time teaching as Professor of Political Science at Tulane University. Retiring in 1991, he began dividing the year between his New Orleans residence and mountain property in West Virginia. Since 2001 he had been a resident in Warm Hearth Village in Blacksburg, Va.

He is survived by four children, James Harnden Davidson, Arlington, Va., Margaret Davidson Steininger, Innsbruck, Austria, Priscilla Davidson Lambson, Monroe County, W.Va., and John Ellsworth Davidson, Columbus, Ohio; and by three grandchildren, Hannah Davidson and Zachary Davidson, both of Columbus, Ohio, and Oliver Davidson Steininger, Innsbruck, Austria.

He will be buried on the family property in Monroe County, W.Va., next to the grave of Mary, his wife of 57 years.