Henry Davison, 92, of Cedar Rapids, died Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019, at his home. Funeral service: 1 p.m. Monday, Feb. 18, 2019, at Cedar Memorial Chapel of Memories. A visitation will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 17, 2019, at Cedar Memorial Park Funeral Home. Burial with military honors: Cedar Memorial Park Cemetery. Following the burial on Monday, a reception will be hosted by Cedar Memorial to honor Henry and his lifetime of service to the community, at the Cedar Memorial Family Center & Library.
Henry Davison, founder of the Linn County Blues Society, died Saturday, Feb. 9, at 92. Henry was born on Nov. 3, 1926, in Jackson, Miss. Henry grew up in the South during the late 1920s and 1930s, living with his grandfather who was a former slave and having neighbors who were members of the KKK. He also lived with various other relatives through his youth. He lived in Chicago for a time, then moved back to Mississippi. He was drafted at 18, served in Korea and various other duty stations, retired from the U.S. Army as a sergeant first class and moved back to Mississippi. He heard jobs were available at Rockwell Goss and moved to Cedar Rapids. He retired from Rockwell and remained in Cedar Rapids until he passed away last Saturday. Henry saw a need for young people to have safe haven after school so he started the HD Youth Center on Third Street in Cedar Rapids. His center was flooded in 2008, but that didn't stop Henry. He relocated on Mount Vernon Road, and his youth center is still operating.
The "Backpack" program in Cedar Rapids is an expansion of the original backpack program that Henry started at his youth center on Third Street. Henry received donations from local businesses and gave school supplies to any student in Cedar Rapids in need.
Henry felt a need to feed the needy so he organized Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners that were open to the public and again, supported by donations and Henry's hard work and dedication.
Another of Henry's many accomplishments in Cedar Rapids was the Linn County Blues Society. Henry started this society with nothing but an idea. He was convinced the community needed to be more appreciative of the blues style of music and understand that it is an American music style originated by African Americans of the South. His mission was to "Keep the Blues Alive." His LCBS continued to prosper and eventually produced the "Bluesmore" event at Brucemore and many blues productions at 3rd Street Live. LCBS also produced a "Blues in the School" program. This program consisted of a blues band made up of a group of high school friends and played blues music to middle school students, nursing homes and even one presentation at the Correctional Center in Coralville. At present, the LCBS is still keeping the blues alive by producing musical events in Czech Village and making donations to various local non-profits. Henry was very proud of the Linn County Blues Society and cherished his relationship with local musicians. He was really honored when he was recognized in public and given credit for originating the blues society.
Henry was a driven person with a purpose and a huge contributor to the community. It is amazing that he managed to accomplish all he did, but the real miracle is that he made it happen with nothing to start with but an idea and a purpose. As dedicated as Henry was, he became a pretty good salesman. Henry will be missed and remembered by everyone.
Henry leaves to mourn one son, Craig Taylor of Cedar Rapids; and three grandsons, Bradley, Alexander and Ryan Davidson.
He was preceded in death by two other children, Melissa A. Wright (5/1972) and Dr. Henry Davidson Jr. (12/07/12).
If anyone is interested in reading about his life, you can get his book "Henry Davison: You Can Be What You Want To Be." You can get it at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.
Online condolences may be directed to the family at www.cedarmemorial.com under Obituaries.