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Former Trustees Chairman Passes Away at 79

Pitt Community College lost a leader, supporter and dear friend May 21 with the passing of former Board of Trustees Chairman J. Paul Davenport. He was 79.

• RELATED: PCC Presents Distinguished Service Award to J. Paul Davenport

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WINTERVILLE—Pitt Community College lost a leader, supporter and dear friend May 21 with the passing of former Board of Trustees Chairman J. Paul Davenport. He was 79.

On May 10, PCC administrators took a moment during graduation to honor Mr. Davenport with a Distinguished Service Award in recognition of his dedication to the college’s mission and students. He was unable to personally receive the award from PCC Trustees Chairman Charles Long due to his health, so his son, Jeff, accepted it on his behalf.

Mr. Davenport, a Pactolus resident, served as a PCC Trustee for 10 1/2 years, including two years as the board’s chairman. He resigned as a trustee on April 18 for health reasons.

As a member of PCC’s governing board, Mr. Davenport chaired a task force in 2007 to extend the college’s educational programs and services beyond the Winterville campus and reach a greater number of citizens. The PCC Farmville Center, which opened earlier this year, was a direct result of that initiative.

A retired U.S. Air Force officer and partner to one of the largest agricultural enterprises in Pitt County and eastern North Carolina, Mr. Davenport joined the trustees board in 2005, after being appointed by Pitt County Commissioners. He was selected chairman in May 2011 and began serving in that capacity two months later.

After a serious stroke in 2013, which would have reduced most people’s participation in civic duties, PCC President G. Dennis Massey said Mr. Davenport remained a dedicated and valuable contributor to PCC in the years that followed.

“Mr. Davenport is a special friend of the college whose contributions to PCC go beyond the word ‘distinguished’ in his personable and inclusive attitude and his ability to reach out to all members of the campus and community in meaningful, and humorous, ways,” Massey said.

A 1961 East Carolina University business education graduate, Mr. Davenport said in a 2011 interview that his work as a trustee was an important way for him to give back to the community and help PCC grow. He was confident the college would continue to play a key role in developing a skilled local workforce for many years to come.

Before retiring from the Air Force with 22 years of service, Mr. Davenport achieved the rank of lieutenant colonel. His professional background also included 22 years as secretary and treasurer of J.P. Davenport and Son and more than 25 years filling the same roles for Davenport Farms.

Mr. Davenport and his wife, Diana, who passed away in 2015, leave behind two children, Cathy Davenport Smith and Jeff Davenport, and five grandchildren.