The Life Chain is a peaceful, prayerful public witness of prolife individuals praying for our nation and for an end to abortion. This year it is being held in memory of the late John Davidson, of Congers, a longtime defender of the right to life. John passed away on June 16, 2013.
IN MEMORY OF JOHN J. DAVIDSON — DEVOTED TO GOD, FAMILY, and COUNTRY
John praying the Rosary at the 40 Days for Life.
John was a regular with the Our Lady of Guadalupe Rosarians, who pray every Saturday morning at 11 a.m. year round outside the Planned Parenthood office in Spring Valley.
Also, for six years — from the fall of 2007 until the spring of 2013 — he participated in the 40 Days for Life, taking numerous hours fasting and praying to end abortion.
John was born in October 1933, in the heart of the Depression. He experienced hard times. His father, out of work and ill, became hospitalized for tuberculosis, and his mother, Josephine O’Leary Davidson, became the breadwinner. With an outstanding score on the Civil Service Exam she landed a job of toll collector on the George Washington Bridge. She worked there until the end of World War II and then obtained a permanent position with the New York City Transit Authority.
Determined to meet the challenges he had to face, John took to education like a duck to water. He graduated from Sacred Heart grammar school in 1947, and his hard work paid off with a bachelor’s degree from Manhattan College in 1975, a master’s degree in English from Fordham University, a PhD in Administration from St. John’s University, and a JD from Pace University Law School in 1982. He was admitted to the bar in 1985.
In 1956 John’s education was interrupted when he was drafted into the Army, where he served as a paratrooper. He later joined the Army Reserves as a second lieutenant and advanced through the ranks, eventually retiring with the rank of Brigadier General.
In 1960 John met the love of his life, Kathleen Patricia McNally, a registered nurse. They were married in August 1961. John and Pat had four children: Kathy Patricia, Siobhan Mary, John Joseph III, and Joseph Dignam Davidson. John lost his beloved wife of 46 years on St. Patrick’s Day 2007.
John was a life-long educator. In 1960 he began teaching English at Lawrence High School in Cedarhurst, N.Y. In 1969 he was assistant principal of Lincoln Junior High School. In 1970 he became principal of the Academy of the Sacred Heart of Mary, in the Inwood section of the Upper Bronx. In 1971 he served as an assistant principal in Pittsfield, MA. Two years later returned to New York to be assistant principal of Clarkstown North High School in New City. John held that position for 17 years until his retirement in 2000. Then he was elected to the Clarkstown School Board in 2001, becoming its president in 2006. He retired in 2012.
Also close to John’s heart throughout his life was the Knights of Columbus. John became a Knight in 1966 and received his Fourth Degree in 1967 in Oceanside, N.Y. When he returned to Rockland County, he joined the Cardinal McCloskey Council and the Joyce Kilmer Assembly 698. He was one of the founders of the Pope John XXIII council 7104 in Congers and was elected that council’s first Grand Knight. He has also held the offices of District Deputy, Faithful Navigator of Assemly 698, Past Association Chairman, and Commander of the Honor Guard, which he considered the “singular honor of his life.”
We thank the Knights of Columbus Triune Council 2052 for providing the information for this tribute.