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.


Memories Timeline


  1. Condolences to the family, I am very sadden to hear of Tom’s passing. I worked with Tom everyday for many years at United Airlines and he was a truly remarkable and support friend an all around great guy, we shared many laughs together ! Although I hadn’t seen Tom for a while he often came into my thoughts as I would meet various challenges in everyday life. Tom had a unique spirit and way of handling situations and he taught me many many things, I will have his spirit and friendship to cherish for many years and I will miss him dearly.

  2. I’m shocked and saddened to hear of Tom passing away. He was one of the kindest people I knew and loved his football and family. Tom will be greatly missed.

  3. Thank ypu, Debbie, for that nice tribute to Tom. I know he’ll be remembered by everyone who knew or met him. He was a good neighbor.

  4. Good memories and years of being the trainer who taped those ankles and hands will never leave. Tom you left a lasting mark wherever you went. Our journey started the first day both of us started at Nebraska until we last saw each other in Las Vegas at the Humm event a couple of years ago. Rest in peace my friend.

  5. Tom, you were the brother I always wanted and loved. Even after we parted ways I never stopped loving you. Brilliant, funny, kind, tortured soul, you were my soul mate! I wished you loved you as mush as I did you! You touched a lot of people’s lives in very unique ways, so in that sense you lived life to its fullest, I was just selfish in that I wanted more of you in my life.

  6. My friend you are missed not only be me but by all who came to know you. A smart, caring and funny gentle giant who enjoyed life. Rest peacefully my friend and I will see you down the road “ Mr Gilmo “.

  7. Such a great man you were and are and still is and always will be in everybody’s heart Tom thanks for your life be bright shine on to your new frontier much love Linda Sunney Darling

  8. Sorry to hear of Tom’s passing,played football at North with him, he was a Super person and a great athlete. Prayers to the Family and to his Friends ! He will be Missed!

  9. I helped Leonard Bond and Dan Sorensen coach Tom at North High and it was simple to see the caliber of player that was about to go forth. We was a tough young man who always worked hard and gave 110% all the time. It was a pleasure to have coached him and watched him grow.
    Richard Buzbee 1968
    coached North 1973

  10. Well Tom, I am saddened having not met you in person, to say the least. I enjoyed our phone conversations and I have a great deal of pride calling you my uncle. I sure bragged about my newly discovered relative the last 5 years. See you and mom on the other side.

  11. My deepest condolences to the friends and family of Tom. May your treasured memories bring you joy, and may ‘the God of all comfort’ give you strength, along with a measure of peace for your grieving hearts at this most difficult time.
    2 Corinthians 1:3

  12. Your upstairs neighbor for the past 2.5 years – my dogs would cuddle with Tom tow or three days a week while I lived in the building. The dogs, Heidi and Jet, are still sniffing under the door and wanting to cuddle. They and I miss you buddy!

  13. Damn Tom. This one hurts. You were all I had there for awhile bud. We had many long talks and you always were a blast to be around. Rest well.

    Love ya man.

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