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Kenneth Richard Davenport

Kenneth Richard Davenport
  • October 14, 1935 - October 10, 2019
  • Charleston, South Carolina
  • Memorials may be made to:
  • Hospice of Charleston
    4975 Lacross Road
    Suite 200
    North Charleston, SC 29406

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“I'm so saddened to hear of Dick's passing.I got to know Dick through the JHS alumni homecomings in Jellico over the years. He was always one that...Read More »
1 of 9 | Posted by: Cathy Vann - Jellico, TN - Friend

“My sympathies go out to all the Davenport family and especially Nancy. I know what an icon he was not only in the optical industry, but also in...Read More »
2 of 9 | Posted by: Roz LaBarbera - Houston, TX

“Dick was a very special member of the Ellison Family. We so enjoyed our last visit with him, going though his old family photos and listening to his...Read More »
3 of 9 | Posted by: Jim and Helen Ellison - Knoxville, TN

On assignment in September, 2019 covering Hurricane Doriam for NBC NY “We first met when I was on assignment covering hurricane Floyd 20 years ago and last saw each other when I was covering hurricane Dorian one month...Read More »
4 of 9 | Posted by: Brian Thompson - New York, NY

“Your were a good friend for a long time you will be greatly missed ”
5 of 9 | Posted by: Joanne Llewellyn Watts - Jellico, TN

“We met Dick several years ago at Jaye and Randy Wolfe's house before a U.T. football game. He was so entertaining. He made a big impression as he...Read More »
6 of 9 | Posted by: Roy and Nancy Wolfe - Taylors, SC

“Dear Family, I remember Dick as my parents business was next door to Woolworths - he was such a nice person and so smart. I was sorry to read...Read More »
7 of 9 | Posted by: Renee Zinn - Jacksonville, FL

“I will miss you so much. I will miss the "hello darlin" every time I walked into your office. My heart goes out to your family. I love you " Mr D" ”
8 of 9 | Posted by: JoAnn Burgess - Charleston, SC

“A great friend whose smile and humor will be greatly missed...jlp ”
9 of 9 | Posted by: John L Paul - Charleston, SC

K. Richard "Dick" Davenport, 83, of Charleston, South Carolina, entered into eternal rest Thursday, October 10, 2019. His Funeral Service will be held Thursday, October 17, 2019 in First (Scots) Presbyterian Church, 53 Meeting Street at 10:30 a.m. Interment will be family only. The family will receive friends Wednesday from 4:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. in J. Henry Stuhr, Inc. Downtown Chapel, 232 Calhoun Street.

Dick was born October 14, 1935 to Kenneth A. Davenport and Alene Ellison Davenport. He attended Jellico Tennessee schools and graduated from Jellico High School in 1953. He played basketball for Jellico High School from 1948-1953 and was a member of the 1951 and 1952 championship teams. He was a football recruit of several colleges including the University of Tennessee where he accepted a scholarship before opting to play for Memphis State University. Dick served as President of Kappa Sigma Fraternity while attending the University of Mississippi. After graduating from East Tennessee State University, Mr. Davenport worked as manager of the Woolworth Corporation in Richmond, Virginia subsequent to the integration of the lunch counter in Raleigh. His job responsibilities included following Martin Luther King, Jr. through the south, integrating lunch counters for the Woolworth Corporation, at the largest Woolworth store in the south, before he was thirty.

In 1966, Dick bought 50 of his father-in-law's optical business and began Jackson Davenport Opticians, presently doing business as Jackson Davenport Vision Center, which was once the 39th largest vision center in the nation. He served the National Academy of Opticianry as treasurer, president and vice president. Dick also served as president of the Opticians Association of America. During this term, he was the first layman to be cross examined by the Federal Trade Commissioners which eliminated anti-competitive restrictions on opticians. He has also served in the South Carolina Dispensing Opticians Association and has held key leadership positions for the southeastern Society of Dispensing Opticians and South Carolina Board of Examiners in Opticianry. Both the American Board of Opticianry and National Contact Lense Examiners certified him.

Dick recently served as treasurer of the Charleston Local Development Corporation, a committee working to restore the historic downtown district of Charleston, South Carolina. He served on the Executive Board of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra and the Board of Directors for the Charleston Farmers Market. He was a member of the Executive Association of Greater Charleston, the Carolina Yacht Club, St. David's Society, and was an honorary life member of the Hibernian Society. He attended First (Scots) Presbyterian Church.

Dick's other accomplishments included: being the Past President of Hospice of Charleston; Past Director of Charleston Chamber of Commerce; Founding Chairman of Trident Academy, a school for children with learning disabilities; 2002 Recipient of the Contact Lens Society's President's Award; 2001 Recipient of the Opticians Association of America's Outstanding Optician Award; Past Chairman of the American Board of Opticianry; 1999 Recipient of Jellico High School's Outstanding Alumni Award; Recipient of South Carolina's Optician of the Year; Past Vice-Chairman of the South Carolina Licensing Board; Recipient of the Southeastern Optician Society's Galen Kilbourne Award; Served as a delegate to the White House Conference on Small Business Administration; and served on the City of Charleston Airport and Playground Commission.

He is survived by three daughters: Nancy L. Davenport of Charleston, SC, Ellison Davenport Abdalla (Gary) of Houston, TX and Mary Davenport Anderson (Frank) of Charleston, SC; one son, Kenneth R. Davenport II (Kathy) of Summerville, SC; seven grandchildren: Alyssa Davenport, William Anderson, Leah Davenport, Ellison Watkins, Erin Abdalla, Jennifer Grace Abdalla, and Lizzie Anderson; Susan Jackson Davenport, the mother of his children; and cousins: Jaye Ellison Wolfe of Knoxville, TN, Julia Ellison Howle of Memphis, TN, and Dick Creekmore of Jelico, TN.