Caldwell Davis – a remembrance

Lewis Caldwell Davis passed away, most unexpectedly, on February 15, 2013. He was 57.

The pride of Charleston, West Virginia, Caldwell arrived, with typical bravado, a few weeks early.

At Miss Dick’s preschool, Caldwell was noted for his social skills. At the University of Virginia, Caldwell was President of his Sigma Phi fraternity, and a member of the university’s oldest secret society, Eli Banana, founded to “create an association of congenial spirits.”

At Chemical Bank, he served corporate lending clients by day and comedy club audiences at night. His entrepreneurial spirit led him to launch Hat Hat Hooray, a novelty hat company with locations in New York City and West Virginia. Then he joined the team that launched Spy Magazine, where he quickly became #1 in Ad Sales.

From 1993 to 1997, as President of Charleston’s Business and Industrial Development Corp. (BIDCO), Caldwell was responsible for bringing Toyota, NGK Sparkplug and other manufacturing plants to Charleston, creating over 3,000 new jobs. The Mayor of Charleston proclaimed July 29, 1997 “Caldwell Davis Day” to recognize both “his hard work and achievements” and “his extraordinary wardrobe and inspirational power ties.”

In 1997, Caldwell joined First USA Bank in Wilmington. While managing credit card programs for the armed forces and related organizations, he also developed new acquisition strategies for First USA, leveraging major retailers including Best Buy and Penske Auto to help win new accounts.

In 2002, Caldwell became our Marketing Officer and Chief Love Agent. He immediately quadrupled the Love for Bank of America, Chase, Discover, MasterCard, Alliance Data, and all of our clients. For the America West FlightFund Visa card, he managed a groundbreaking “surprise & delight” in-flight experience. Under his direction, Love for the Customer took shape as Shamlian’s positive, powerful creative process. The day he wore his Love Agent uniform to visit Bank of America, he was beaming.

Caldwell never missed a gathering of friends and family. A beloved roast-master at weddings, birthdays and anniversaries, he had guests in tears of laughter. He always carried a tin of mints, just so he could share them. Angus M. Peyton of Charleston said “Caldwell had more friends than anyone I know. He was as fun as he was smart.”

A memorial service on February 21 at the Vicmead Hunt Club in Wilmington was filled to bursting – echoing the emotions of everyone present. Caldwell’s big heart shines brightly in his three daughters, Paget Tilden, Warren Caldwell and Baird Brittingham Davis; their mother, Paget Brittingham; his brother, James Hornor Davis IV; his beloved partner, Elizabeth Cromwell Secor; and her son, Jay Campbell.

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