July 31, 1955 ~ March 5, 2019
Born in: Omaha, NE
Resided in: Denver, CO
Thomas L. Davis was born July 31, 1955 in Omaha, Nebraska and died suddenly March 5, 2019 at his home in Denver. He is survived by aunts Vivian Fricks of Spartanburg, SC, and Sis Ellison of Gafney SC, numerous cousins, nephews and niece, godsons Guy Oberg IV and Sean Oberg, other extended family, ex-wife Debbie Stratton, friends, and the faithful Husker Nation. He was proceeded in death by his mother, Gayle (Ivey) Davis, father, Lloyd Davis, and sister, Debbie.
Tom (aka “Slick”) lettered in football, basketball and wrestling at Omaha North High School and earned all-state football honors. He attended the University of Nebraska as a philosophy major and was on the offensive line as a center (#52) for four years (1973-76). Tom was named a first team All-American by the Football Writers and second team All-American by the Football News and UPI. As a junior in 1976, he earned honorable mention All-Big Eight honors. Tom was also a finalist for the Outland Trophy, awarded to the best college football interior lineman in the U.S. as judged by the Football Writers Association of America. He played in many bowl games and was honored to be chosen to play in the 53rd East-West Shrine Game. At the time, coach Tom Osborne called Tom “the best center Nebraska has ever had”. He was honored and humbled by his induction into the Nebraska Hall of Fame in 2003.
The NFL’s Oakland Raiders drafted him in the sixth round in 1978. He later played for the Toronto Argonauts and Ottawa Roughriders. Tom was a Denver Bronco from 1980-83 and was a starter for the Denver Gold in the USFL league. He was chosen Team Captain in 1983, 1984, and 1985, and was All-USFL in 1984 and 1985.
After a knee injury that ended his football career, Tom went back to school and received an aviation A&P mechanic license, also receiving an Outstanding Student award voted by fellow classmates. He worked for United Airlines for 24 years and was Senior On-Site Director of Outside Vendor Maintenance until his retirement in 2012.
Tom wed Debbie Stratton in 1989 and they were married for 24 years, traveling the world, until they divorced but remained great friends. Tom loved his dogs, all things aviation, and rocking out to Bruce Springsteen and Tower of Power. He also loved playing football and always said, even with traumatic brain injuries and medical problems from years of football, that he’d do it all over again. Tom’s brain was sent for research at the CTE Center at Boston University. He was one of a kind, funny, very intelligent, generous, and always the life of the party – truly a “Center of Attention”.
Tom requested to be cremated with his ashes spread in the Colorado Rockies. A celebration of life will be held this spring in Spartanburg, SC. A memorial scholarship has been set up in Tom’s name with the University of Nebraska Athletic Department. These memorial donations will be applied toward a one-time scholarship for a Nebraska Football Lineman with preference given to a Center. Please send checks made out to the University of Nebraska Foundation and indicate Tom Davis in the memo line or in the correspondence. Mail to Huskers Athletic Fund, 625 Stadium Drive, Lincoln, NE 65855-0124. Thank you.