Share

Davis was an Olympic Gold medalist in the 400-meter hurdles and 1600-meter relay

COLUMBUS, Ohio Former Buckeye track and field great Glenn “Jeep” Davis died Wednesday at the Hospice Care Center in Barbarton, Ohio. He was 74.

Davis was a letterwinner for the Buckeyes from 1956-59 and a three-time All-American. He was an Olympic Gold medalist in the 400-meter hurdles at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics and a two-time Olympic Gold medalist in the 400-meter hurdles and 1600-meter relay at the 1960 Rome games. In 2006 he was recognized as the greatest athlete in Summit County history.

“This is a tremendous loss of a truly great Buckeye,” Robert Gary, head coach of the Buckeyes, said. “By all accounts he was as good a man as he was Olympian. I plan to name the Jesse Owens Track Classic hurdle events after him.”

In 1958 Davis set world records in the 440-yard run and in the 400-meter low hurdles. He still holds Ohio State records for the outdoor 50-yard hurdles (6.1 seconds) and has the second-fastest times in the outdoor 400-meter hurdles (49.2) and the indoor 300-yard dash (30.5). He also was the recipient of the Sullivan Award for the nation’s top amateur athlete in 1958.

Davis was an eight-time Big Ten champion. In 1956 he won the Big Ten title in the 220-yard low hurdles and captured the 70-yard low hurdle title in 1957. In 1958 he placed first in the 70-yard high hurdles, 60-yard dash, 440-yard run and the mile relay. In 1959 he claimed two more Big Ten titles in the 440-yard dash and the mile relay once again. Davis was an NCAA champion at the 1958 NCAA Championships.

Davis was born in Wellsburg, W.Va., and had been a Barberton resident most of his life where he was the owner and operator of Jeep’s Olympic Driving School. He also retired as a teacher and coach from the Barberton City Schools after 33 years.

Preceded in death by his parents, William and Edwina; sisters, Elsie, Wanda, Mildred, Roberta and Doris; and brothers, Edwin, Max and William; survivors include his wife of 52 years, Delores “Dee”; his sons, Glenn A. Jr. (Linda Vargo) and Timothy (Kelly) Davis; daughter, Jennifer Davis; grandchildren, Stephanie, Rebecca, Caleb, Rylee, Gavin and Lauren; great-grandson Trent; sisters, Evelyn and Lucy; and special friends, Bill Allen and Pat “Bugs” Hill.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, Feb. 2, 2009 at the Akron Baptist Temple, 2324 Manchester Rd., Akron, Pastor Brent Malone officiating. Entombment at Greenlawn Memorial Park. Calling hours will be held Saturday from 2 to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Silva Hostetler Funeral Home, 1199 Wooster Rd. West, Barberton. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Jeep Davis Olympic Hopeful Fund c/o the Barberton Community Foundation, 460 W. Paige Ave., Barberton, Ohio 44203.