Windle ‘Buster’ Davis, prominent citizen of Fulton and well-respected owner of Davis Ford Sales died Thursday, January 9, at Sanctuary Hospice in Tupelo. He was 93 years old.
After serving in the United States Army during World War II, at the time of his death, Davis was the oldest veteran in Itawamba County.
Davis opened his business in downtown Fulton in 1964 and moved it to its current location in 1969. He was recognized by Ford Motor many times over the years, including receiving their coveted President’s Award 17 times.
Prior to owning Davis Ford, he coached both high school and junior college basketball. Davis led Kossuth, Thrasher and Belmont to high schools to grand-slam championships.
Itawamba Junior College basketball team would win six North Half titles and compete in eight State Finals under his coaching leadership. Davis was inducted into the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges Sports Hall of Fame in April of 2008.
In 1975 Davis ended his career as coach to focus on his business. He served on many economic leadership teams throughout his years as business owner including president of the board and as an unpaid director of the Itawamba County Development Council (ICDC).
As former director of the Appalachian Regional Commission, Davis was recognized in 2013 by the Mississippi Legislature for his community work over the years, steering millions of dollars in economic development projects as well as driving support for community projects and events.
Davis was instrumental in solidifying the location of the Mueller Copper Tube plant, the preservation of the Mississippi Railway, the opening of the Fulton Port on the Tennessee Tombigbee Waterway and the Fulton Access Road.
In 2006 he was recognized as Business Person of the Year by the ICDC. Attorney Tom Childs spoke during the event in Davis’ honor.
“I’ve always believed that when determining whether a person is successful or not, it’s best to measure by the footprints of service that they leave embedded in the long stretching sands of time that flow across this land,” Childs said. “Measured by that standard, it’s evident that Buster Davis has earned a very deserving A plus. When you look at this community, you see his footprints all over in a very, very positive way.”
On March 9, 2007, the crown jewel of Buster and his twin brother, Bud’s crown, ICC’s Davis Event Center was dedicated. The 120,000 square-foot, 2,800 seat-capacity arena was named in honor of the Davis brothers and their contributions to the school.
Created in 1996 by Davis, the long-running bluegrass-gospel concert held at the event center was one Itawamba County’s most popular live music events. It originally raised funds for Tupelo-based Regional Rehab Center and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. From 2015 to 2018, proceeds from the concert benefited the Itawamba Community College Foundation.
During his 2007 speech at the dedication ceremony of the center, Davis received a heartfelt and resounding cheer when he concluded his time at the podium by expressing his gratitude:
“For all of the people whom we have worked within this place called Itawamba, and all the players who played for us, and the fans who supported us, thanks for the memories.”
Davis was preceded in death by his wife, Billie, in 2011 and his identical brother Bud in 2013.