Peter Bertel Davidsen was born in Auburndale, Florida, on February 23, 1937, to Clarence and Lou Porter Davidsen. His last day on Earth, Sunday, April 7, 2019 was at LifePath Hospice House in Ruskin, Florida. He passed away sleeping peacefully. He lived a full, rich life.
Pete survived his parents, his aunts, uncles, his adoring mother-in-law, Esther Yeatts Bennett, and brothers-in-law, Roger Bennett and Nat Bowie.
Pete’s survivors include his wife, Claudia, his sons, Jeffry Martin Davidsen and Jean-Christophe Camp and daughter-in-law, Corie, granddaughters Allyssa and Dyllan, nieces Amy Bowie Haggerty (John) and Rebecca Bowie Huffer.
Pete was survived by his sister, Ann Davidsen Bowie, by two weeks and one day. Pete and Ann were very close in life and loved each other dearly. Their only differences were that he was a pain in the patoot as a youth, and he had to milk her 4-H cows.
Other family survivors include John and Barbara Bennett, Lowell and Yvette Bennett, Peter and Rosemary Bennett, Doug and Glorie Anna Johnston, Duffy and Kelly Johnston, Eric and Tana Schultz and Judith and Richard Sortore. Included among these family members are their own immediate families. Pete’s little doggie boys, Max and Skip Davidsen deserve special mention; they gave him so much love and joy for many years.
Pete earned both undergraduate and graduate degrees at the University of Florida while on a full football scholarship. He did further postgraduate study at the University of South Florida.
Pete’s professional mission was the education of the youth of Hillsborough County. He began his storied career at Plant High School in Tampa, Florida, as a teacher, then dean and assistant principal. He continued as principal at Madison Junior High School, principal at Robinson High School, and then school district administration. He retired as Deputy Superintendent of Schools.
Throughout his career and into his retirement, Pete received too many commendations and honors than can be named. He was especially proud of two of them.
Peter B. Davidsen Middle School: Though retired, Pete was actively involved with the school from the time ground was broken for the building until the school was dedicated. He greatly enjoyed his association with the founding principal, Becky Kaskeski. One of the greatest honors an educator can enjoy is having a namesake school.
The Auburndale High School Hall of Fame: Pete is among illustrious alumni who earn this honor through accomplishments after graduation.
Pete’s retirement was an active one. A life-long athlete, he was an intimidating presence on tennis courts and golf courses.
Pete stayed busy with home projects, both large and small. If a project was challenging, so much the better. He was an avid reader and consumer of a wide range of subjects. Pete especially loved fresh and salt-water fishing and scalloping.
Until recent years, Pete was actively involved in his community. He advocated for environmental preservation and conservation. While he identified as a moderate Democrat, he studied political issues comprehensively, and sometimes supported individuals of both major parties.
Pete appreciated his friends and neighbors who spent time with him and brightened his final days. Among those are:
Karen Bishop and Linda Kelleher who are awesome cooks and handy persons.
Jim Edenfield is a shooting buddy and an honorary brother.
Sheila Edenfield is a frequent bright spot. Oh! those Louisiana shrimp boils!
Allan Flowers visited Pete daily. They solved all the world problems over coffee and cigars and occasional putting demos.
Paul Sablan is Pete’s spiritual son. Paul’s waterfront terrace saw many laughs, serious pow-wows, martinis and cigars.
Pete loved the Sablan doggie babies, Freddie, Roxie and Theo.
Other friends and neighbors who spent time with Pete and boosted his morale are Chris Bredbenner, Kate Hamilton, Michael Miller, Barry and Vickie Rumsey, and John and Leeann Sablan.
We appreciate the care of LifePath Hospice’s Green Team, endocrinologist Dr. Monther Halawani, dermatologist Dr. Jerry Hedrick, cardiologist Dr. Shahid Malik, and geriatrician/primary care Dr. Jason Stibich. We are grateful to the staff of those practices.
While Pete’s physicians never minimized the reality and seriousness of Pete’s condition, he actually enjoyed his visits with these all-round great guys. Dr. Hedrick entertained him with remembrances of life in West Virginia. The brilliant cardiac surgeon, Dr. Malik, saved Pete’s life on many occasions, and was so kind. Dr. Stibich, made him laugh, shared pictures of his recent fishing catches, called him a Miracle Man for living as long as he did with his serious physical challenges, and gave him permission to enjoy a cigar and a martini.
We appreciate staff and owners of Zipperer’s Funeral Home in Ruskin for their sensitivity and advice. At Pete’s insistence, there will be no formal services.
In lieu of other material tributes, please donate or otherwise support a cause or charity of your choice.
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