How Did Eastside Tacoma pastor Al Davis Die? Cause of Death Explained

The Rev. Alfred C. Davis, Sr., who spent fifty years serving the spiritual, material, and emotional needs of his eastside Tacoma neighbourhood, passed away on Saturday. He was 84.

How Did Eastside Tacoma pastor Al Davis Die?

According to his relatives, Davis passed away at home from complications related to Parkinson’s disease.

Davis was more than just the longtime pastor of the Eastside Community Church, which he started (now Eastside Assembly of Believers). According to his family and those who knew him, he had the capacity to recognise what people required for success as well as the capacities to enable them.

Tacoma pastor Al Davis Biography

The third son of Susie and Sherman Davis, Alfred Davis was born on March 11, 1938, in the segregated town of Vaiden, Mississippi.

Davis claimed that he received a call to ministry at the age of 16. According to his daughter Angel Davis, he soon began leading revivals.

At age 18, he joined the U.S. Air Force with the goal of becoming a chaplain. By 1957, he was employed in communications at McChord Air Force Base (now Joint Base Lewis-McChord).


Davis departed the Air Force after serving for four years, but he remained in Tacoma. On Thursday, Angel Davis said, “I don’t even know how he got connected to the east side of Tacoma, but it looked it was really under served.”

With just 12 members and $25, Davis founded the Eastside Community Church of God in Christ in 1964, according to Angel Davis.

She claimed that he was one of the few Black pastors to start a church from scratch in the 1970s and 1980s.

His list of initiatives spans several decades and includes a daycare facility, a Black Christian school, a food programme, a scholarship fund, and more.

Tacoma pastor Al Davis Journey

Although he supported Black self-determination, his ministry included people of all races and religious affiliations, according to his family.

He was one of the few pastors who had ties to both the ecumenical community and the Black church, according to Angel Davis. He alternated between preaching alongside Presbyterian and Lutheran pastors.

According to his spouse Mary Davis, Davis called his church a “filling station.” She described it as a sort of spiritual refuelling facility that has helped thousands of people.

Mary Davis stated on Thursday, “We’ve never had a big congregation, but the impact he had on their life when they left the church… we kept relationships with everyone of them.”

Robert Penton credits the transformation from radical to reverend directly to Davis

When Robert Penton, a member of the Black Panthers, a Black nationalist group from the 1960s, moved to Tacoma from Los Angeles in 1967, Penton met Davis. He is now the Reverend Robert Penton. He directly attributes Davis’s role in his conversion from radical to reverend.

Penton was advocating for the Black Panthers movement on that day in 1967 at a Salishan community centre. For a different reason, Davis was in the middle.

Penton recalled on Wednesday that “Pastor Davis, who I didn’t know, came up and offered me a quantity of money.” “I mean, he just dropped it into my hand,” he said.

The gesture piqued Penton’s interest, and he ultimately ran into Davis.

Penton remarked, “He told me about his vision. And I responded, “If that’s what your church stands for, then that’s what I want to do and where I want to serve.”

Davis’ vision was a holistic ministry.

Davis had an all-encompassing ministry in mind.

Serving them by providing them with food, shelter, clothing, and other necessities, Penton added. “We had after-school programmes, feeding programmes, and things of that nature while I was in LA with the Black Panthers, and Rev. Davis was discussing precisely that, but through the extension of the church,”

Because Davis felt Penton needed the money, he gave it to him that day.

Penton stated, “And that’s what he did.” “I eventually realised the guiding ideas of his ministry: merely doing what he believed Jesus would do, not just preaching to people but also feeding them.”

Pastor Al Davis established a program to redirect at-risk youth

In Yelm, Washington, Davis made a 100-plus-acre acquisition in 1974 and set up a programme there to help at-risk youngsters. According to his family, he wanted young people, especially young Black men, to have alternatives to gangs and violence.

Youth learnt farming, woodworking, animal husbandry, and had first-time exposure to nature at the ranch. The building is still used to house foster children.

How Did Eastside Tacoma pastor Al Davis Die? Cause of Death Explained
How Did Eastside Tacoma pastor Al Davis Die? Cause of Death Explained

When Davis was working as a chaplain for the Tacoma Police Department in 1978, he met Mary in sad circumstances. Bernard, Mary’s son, had perished in a car accident.

At a revival where they later reconnected, they realised their fate was to be together. Never did their six children identify as half-siblings. “You don’t need any pals, you have each other,” Davis would advise them.

After Davis Sr. retired in 2014, his son, the Rev. Alex Davis, took over his father’s congregation.

Al Davis Legacy

In 1983, Davis and Merle Palmer established Palmer Scholars, a programme that helps economically disadvantaged students of colour realise their greatest academic and professional goals.

Although Rev. Davis’ name isn’t on the Palmer Scholars’ emblem, his influence on Palmer Scholars and the larger Tacoma and Pierce County community will be felt for decades to come, according to executive director Johnathan Jackson in a statement released on Wednesday.

Also read: Who is Lason Butler? How did he die in a South Carolina jail?

Davis, according to his family, prioritised others before himself even in his final moments.

Mary Davis remarked, “He was strong because he wanted to be strong for us. The children told him, “Dad, you’ve got to go home,” because he wanted to be sure that everything was good and that he could return home and be with the Lord.

Davis is survived by his children Alfred Davis, Jr., Darlene Spenser, Jerome Davis, Aldrick Davis, Felicia Collins, and their families, in addition to Mary, Angel, and Alex. On Thursday, August 11, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., there will be a public viewing at Eastside Assembly of Believers, 4420 Portland Avenue in Tacoma.

On Friday, August 12, at 10:30 a.m., a memorial service will be conducted at Life Center, 1717 S. Union Ave. in Tacoma.

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