Thomas Shackelford Davis, 1966-2004.

"No Man is a Failure Who Has Friends." -B Clarence the Angel, It' s a Wonderful Life.

That was Tom's favorite quote from his favorite movie.

Thomas Shackelford Davis came from a family of prominent Missouri lawyers, but made a name for himself more for his love of life and friends. He was the son of Denny and Barbara Davis, and was already a worldly boy when he arrived in Fayette, Missouri in 1978, having spent the first years of his life in Mexico City where his father worked as a United Press International Reporter.

In high school Tom was a strong student, well read, from the classics to current fiction - to comic books and super heroes. He played football for the Falcons, participated in every play and speech tournament and pumped gas and changed tires at Bagby's Service Station in his spare time. His senior class voted him Most Ambitious, Most Interesting, and Best Sense of Humor.

After high school, Tom attended and graduated from Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, where he made more friends and memories. The stories of Tom's adventures at Westminster are legendary and remain the frequent topic of conversation among friends and family to this day.

Tom next attended the University of Missouri - Columbia Law School where his circle of friends expanded even more. He and his partner won the Mock Trial Competition as first year students, something almost unheard of. His legend grew.

After graduating from law school, Tom began his law practice as a public defender, going to some of the remote areas of Missouri to represent the interests of his clients. Tom was passionate about his clients and their cases. He believed in people and couldn't live with the thought of an innocent person going to jail.

By 1999 Tom joined up with his law school classmates to form the Davis, Susan & Holder Law Firm, where he continued to successfully practice law until his premature death from cancer in December 2004. He immensely enjoyed the satisfaction that his last jury trial resulted in a Not Guilty verdict for a University of Missouri student-athlete accused of felony assault.

In addition to his love for his family and friends and his passion and commitment for his work and clients, Tom was a die-hard Missouri Tiger football fan. Saturday Missouri football tailgates and Sunday NFL get-togethers were highly anticipated fall traditions. At his request, and in honor of his lasting friendship, a memorial tailgate tribute, complete with bagpipes and toasts, was held at the 2005 MU spring football game. A David Spear original artwork was commissioned to commemorate the event and entitled "Last Toast to Tom Davis".


Tom disliked only one kind of person in the world, he called them the rule-following fun haters. When he would spot them he would avoid them at all cost. This was representative of Tom's passion for life and adventure. Stories and recollections of his trials and tribulations, adventures and misadventures, legendary as they are (and have become), continue to bring joy and laughter to his many friends and family.

Donations to the Thomas Shackelford Davis Scholarship Fund, for the benefit of deserving Fayette High School graduates, may be made in the care of Commercial Trust Bank of Fayette, Missouri in lasting memory of a friend lost too soon.

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