Henry Vandyke (Van) Davis

November 23, 1931 ~ October 20, 2020 (age 88)


Henry Vandyke (Van) Davis was born on November 23, 1931 in Franklin County, North Carolina to the late Henry Davis and Eula Baskett Davis. He was the second of their six children, all boys. Van entered his eternal rest on October 20, 2020 at Palisades Medical Center in North Bergen, New Jersey. Van was preceded in death by his brothers George and Reginald Davis.

At the age of one, the family moved to Vance County, North Carolina. Van attended the Dickies Grove School. The family joined the Dickies Grove Baptist Church and Van served as an usher.

Van always loved working on cars so when he and his brother Carl moved to New York in 1950, Van followed his passion. Van went to school for automobile mechanics which began a career which spanned over 30 years. Van worked for car dealerships as well as for himself during that time. His drive to provide was evidenced by the fact that he worked days, nights and many weekends. In early 1950, he met Anna Mae Smith and they were married on Christmas Day 1954. From this union, one son, Vance was born. Anna Mae preceded Van in death.

In 1993, Van married Shirley Austin. After his retirement, Van and Shirley relocated to Palm Coast, Florida in 1994. He was predeceased by Shirley by two years.

Van started a lawn service business which lasted over 20 years. He also started playing golf and became a devoted fan and player. He really enjoyed playing with his buddies locally, out of state and in tournaments. He even won a few trophies.

Van was a member of the First A.M.E. Church of Palm Coast where he served faithfully until relocating to NJ.

As his health began to fail, like the words to his favorite gospel song, “I won’t complain”, Van never complained.

Van will be remembered as a man with a heart of gold. He treated customers like friends, friends like family and family members as someone special.

He leaves to cherish his memories one son Vance Davis; grandchildren Vance Davis Jr., Vanna Davis, Dante & Memphis Murphy; brothers Carl Davis Sr., Andrew Davis (Delores) and Cary Davis (Delores); brother-in-law Henry Lee Carter Jr.; sisters-in-law Sadie Davis, Martha Trezevant, Lois Stewart, Jean Davis, Vicki Davis and Janice Morris; stepsons Michael & Jeffrey Murphy and a host of additional family and friends.


You can shed tears that he is gone,
Or you can smile because he lived,
You can close your eyes and pray that he will come back,
Or you can open your eyes and see all that he has left.

Your heart can be empty because you can’t see him
Or you can be full of the love that you shared,
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday,
Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.

You can remember him and only that he is gone
Or you can cherish his memory and let it live on,
You can cry and close your mind be empty and turn your back,
Or you can do what he would want:

smile, open your eyes, love and go on.

By David Harkins


Pinelawn Memorial Park in Farmingdale, NY



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