E. Lloyd Davis Sr., a retired U.S. Foreign Service official, died of complications from Parkinson's disease May 26 at Springhouse Assisted Living in Pikesville. The former Ashburton resident was 90.
Born in Baltimore, he was the son of Avon Davis, the branch manager of the old North and Druid Hill avenues post office, and Edith Clarke, a teacher.
Family members said that as a child, he earned money scrubbing marble front steps and delivering the Afro-American newspaper. In 1942 he was depicted in a photograph with Duke Ellington as he sold the musician and composer $3,000 worth of World War II bonds. He was then a carrier for the newspaper.
In his senior year at Frederick Douglass High School during World War II, he enlisted in the Army. He was 17 and lied about his age. Assigned to Germany, he left the military as a staff sergeant.
One of his early jobs in the 1950s was working the film projector at the old Fulton Theater, at Fulton Avenue and Baker Street.
He earned a bachelor's degree at what is now Morgan State University, where he was a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. He then earned a master's degree at the Catholic University of America.
While attending Catholic University, he worked in the administration office at Howard University. While there, he met his future wife, Rebecca Evangeline Howard, a pharmacist.
He worked initially at the Baltimore Housing Authority. In 1955, he became a lecturer in economics, accounting and business management at Morgan, and in 1960 became the business manager for the school
In 1966 he changed careers, joining the Department of State and working as a Foreign Service officer.
With his family, he became a budget and fiscal administration officer in the U.S. embassies in Ghana, Paris, El Salvador, the Dominican Republic, Bosnia, Budapest, Chile and Kazakhstan. He also lived in Cuba and was attached to the Swiss Embassy on a special assignment.
"Uncle Lloyd was the embodiment of kindness and dignity," said his niece, Patricia Welch. "It was noteworthy for a black man to be serving that kind of assignment at the time. It was a point of pride within our family and for the community at large. Throughout it all, he remained himself. He never thought himself more high than he was."
When he faced a mandatory retirement at age 65, he returned to the State Department as a consultant. In 1979 he had attended the National War College in Washington, D.C. After years of overseas service, he returned to Baltimore in 1991.
Mr. Davis collected coins and was an active member of Grace Presbyterian Church, where a funeral was held June 8.
"His deep, unflappable faith prompted him to write hymns," said his son, E. Lloyd Davis Jr. of New York City.
Ayanna Leonard, a neighbor and friend, recalled the day she moved into her home.
"Here was Mr. Davis at my front door with two bags of groceries," she said. "I soon got to know him. He was a kind man who was also thoughtful and sincere."
"He would help anybody he could. He was always available," said his nephew and godson, Robert Payne. "He was a hardworking individual, always trying to improve himself."
In addition to his son, survivors include another son, Howard Davis of Baltimore; and a daughter, Kathleen Davis of Washington. His wife of 57 years died in 2008.