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Ed Davies

Lloyd Edward Davies was born September 24, 1938, in The Stork’s Nest in Peabody, Kansas. His parents were Lloyd Morgan Davies and Audrey Hyde Davies. He has one older sister, Audrey Ann Slocombe.

At birth, he weighed 13 pounds. His mother was told she deserved an Oscar for having such a large baby, and the nickname stuck.

The family moved to Marion and later moved into the Marion County Jail when his father was elected sheriff. Ed recalled helping his mother prepare meals for prisoners who lived upstairs in the jail.

He attended Marion schools, was captain of the football team, and graduated from Marion High School in 1956. He enlisted in the Navy and served on the destroyer U.S.S. Borrie as a radioman.

Returning home to Marion, he met the love of his life, Gemma Jirak, at a Pilsen wedding dance. They were married on July 23, 1960, in Pilsen, and welcomed their first son, Lloyd, in 1961. The three moved to Lawrence, where Ed served with the police department. The following year, Ed and Gemma welcomed a second son, Bryan, and in 1966, a daughter, Jennifer.

In 1969, Ed began work as a detective on the railroads in Kansas City, Missouri, moving to Olathe, Kansas. In 1970, he joined the Johnson County Sheriff’s Department, working his way up through the ranks of detective, lieutenant, watch commander, and captain. He spearheaded construction of a new four-story jail complex in Olathe for Johnson County.

While with Johnson County, Governor Mike Hayden appointed Ed to the state’s mental health reform committee, where he was instrumental in passing into law protections for people off their medications who had not committed a crime. They were to be transferred to a mental health facility and not held in jail. He was a strong advocate for mental health issues.

In 1986, he retired from law enforcement for the first time, living in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and Wichita, before finally returning to Marion in 1987. In March 1988, he was appointed Marion County Sheriff and served two terms, retiring again in 1997. In 1995, his investigative skills tied the Oklahoma City bombers to stolen explosives from a Marion quarry and he spent the next six years testifying at the federal and state trials of the bombing suspects.

In 1995, Ed was diagnosed with colon cancer. Following surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, he was cancer free, and other than hospital stays, missed no work as county sheriff. However, the cancer treatments led to long-term health issues affecting his kidneys and eventually his heart. His 24-year remarkable battle amazed his family and his friends as he defied long odds against his health. He was by far the toughest man most had ever known.

After breaking his hip in a fall, Ed spent two weeks in St. Francis hospital until his heart failed April 24.

Ed was a member of Holy Family Parish. He was a 4th degree knight of the Knights of Columbus serving as officer and Grand Knight. He was a deeply religious man passing on that faith to his children, teaching catechism classes, and serving the church and community.

Ed was followed in death by his wife of 58 years, Gemma of Marion, who passed away Saturday.

He leaves behind his sister Audrey Ann Slocombe and husband Edmund Slocombe of New Braunfels, Texas. Three children: Lloyd Morgan Davies II and wife Robin of Marion; Bryan Henry Davies and wife Carole of Marion; and Jennifer Montgomery and husband Barry of Lincolnville. He has five grandchildren: Nicholas and Samantha Davies, Megan and Emily Davies, and Conner Montgomery. He also has 34 nieces and nephews.

Memorials can be made to Holy Family Parish and the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund in Washington, D.C.

Last modified May 1, 2019

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