Obituary: Dorothy Brandt Davis

Activist, lawyer, educator, author


Dorothy Brandt Davis, a native La Verne resident, died while napping at 1 p.m., Monday, September 30. 

Dorothy was born December 8, 1929 at Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center, followed shortly thereafter by her twin brother Daryl.

Her parents, Kathryn and Jesse Brandt, brought Dorothy and Daryl to their new home on Third Street in La Verne to join older siblings Betty, Lloyd and Bernice. Their youngest sister, Marian, was born a few years later.

She graduated from Bonita High School in 1947, then earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of La Verne in 1952, and master’s and juris doctorate degrees from the same school in 1971 and 1976, respectively.

As a youth, she was active in the Church of the Brethren’s first Peace Caravan movement, which gave birth to Brethren Volunteer Service, a pacifist alternative to military service.

She authored three books for children, The Tall Man, The Middle Man and The Little Man, about historical figures in the Church of the Brethren. 

She married J. Rodney Davis on July 12, 1950. Throughout their life together they dreamed and executed projects large and small. They successfully navigated social change, and actively embraced the ideals of equality and social justice. 

She taught in the Chicago public school district in the mid 1950s until she became pregnant with her first child. She then taught elementary school in the Azusa school district in the 1960s until she was dismissed for wearing a black armband in protest of the Vietnam War. 

She then joined the staff at Claremont’s San Antonio High School, where she taught sewing and English until her retirement.

After earning her law degree, Ms. Davis clerked for Judge Paul Egly on the court-mandated integration efforts of the Los Angeles Unified School District in the late 1970s.

She was very creative and artistic, working in ceramics, textiles, and watercolors, directing larger class projects and executing her own works. In 1964, she designed and managed the building of the Davis’ primary residence, which included an “art shack.” 

Throughout her life she loved working with all children—students, nieces, nephews, her own children, and her grandchildren—to create art and beauty everywhere, her family shared.  

Ms. Davis is survived by her sisters, Bernice and Marian; twin brother, Daryl; son, Carl, of Tuolumne, California; daughter, Sara, of La Cañada; sons, Muir and Eric, both of La Verne; 13 grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

A memorial service is scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday, December 8, at La Verne Church of the Brethren, 2525 E Street. 

Contributions in Ms. Davis’ name may be made to On Earth Peace at; or to La Verne Church of the Brethren at




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