The man many Southeast Texans considered a pioneer in the legal community is laid to rest.
Funeral services were held Saturday for Judge John Paul Davis at Antioch Missionary Baptist Church in Beaumont. Hundreds paid their final respects. His final resting place is in Bay City, TX.
Judge Davis was 74.
Jefferson County Court at Law #3 Judge John Paul Davis was found unresponsive at his home Monday morning by an officer who was sent to the Judge's Beaumont home after he failed to show up for work.
The Judge was taken to Memorial Hermann Baptist Hospital in Beaumont where he was pronounced deceased.
A courthouse official confirmed Judge Davis' death to 12News by phone. The official believed the Judge's death was from natural causes.
In addition to being a long-time Judge, Davis has served as an assistant criminal district attorney and an was a published author. He was recently honored in October at the NAACP Beaumont Chapter banquet. In January, Judge Davis was honored at Port Arthur's annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, banquet.
Judge Davis became the first Afican-American Judge in Beaumont and Jefferson County when the Beaumont City Council appointed Judge Davis the Judge and Chief Magistrate of the Beaumont Municipal Court on July 7, 1980. He was appointed the County Court at law #3 as judge in 1989. He has served as judge since then.
Before serving as a county judge, he served as Beaumont's municipal court judge.
Judge Davis was born in Bay City Texas. He was the youngest of four children of Lemon Davis and wife, Opal Smith Davis.
He graduated from Prairie View A&M University where he earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History. Between graduation from Prairie View A&M and entry into law school, Judge Davis, a Vietnam War veteran, served two years in the United States Army, taught school for a brief time and worked as a warehouse clerk at Celanse Chemical Company in Bay City.
Judge Davis is survived by his wife Sharon Dozier-Davis and two sons. One of his sons, John Davis, is a former Beaumont City Council member.
Jefferson County Commissioners will appoint a replacement. Judge Davis was not planning to run for re-election.