Shawano city officials remember Davis fondly

Former council president made impression on community
Lee Pulaski
City Editor

Shawano’s elected and appointed officials are mourning the loss of a former member of the Shawano Common Council.

Norman Davis, who everybody knew as “Woody,” passed away Feb. 28. To pay tribute to Davis, the council issued a proclamation in memory of him.

Davis was first elected to the council in 1999 to represent Shawano’s third ward, and he served nine terms before stepping down in 2017. During 12 of his 18 years, 2004 through 2016, Davis served as council president.

Davis first moved to the community in 1964, and he was a teacher and coach until his retirement in 1998. His education and athletics journey included taking Shawano High School’s basketball team to the WIAA state basketball tournament in 1982.

City Clerk Lesley Nemetz feels that Davis made his mark on Shawano, whether it was in his seat on the council, in the classroom or on the basketball court. She said she was grateful to have Davis in her life.

“You can’t measure how great of a contribution he made to our community,” Nemetz said. “I was fortunate enough to get to work with him for several years prior to him resigning as an alderperson, and he was certainly a joy to work with. I’m going to miss him terribly, and the great many things he did for our community were just insurmountable.”

Davis’s strengths include being approachable, Nemetz said, along with being able to take on any topic.

“He was willing to take on topics, whether it was something great to move the city forward or whether it was a tough topic to handle,” Nemetz said. “He was always there, and he was willing to back staff and make sure we were taken care of, as well as his residents. The citizens of his district were at the forefront of his mind all the time.”

Alderman John Hoeffs remembered how wonderful and welcoming Davis was when he came on the council.

“I think that Woody Davis did a real good job with the city, and he was real talented for what he did,” Hoeffs said. “He was very dedicated. He’s been kind of a type of mentor when I started out being a councilman.”

Alderwoman Sandy Steinke had similar fond memories, recalling how kind Davis was when she first became an elected official.

“Woody was a wonderful man and a good mentor for me,” said Steinke, who now serves as council president. “He took me under his wing and helped me with some of the things that were not familiar for me, and he gave me good advice. I really enjoyed working with him.”

City Administrator Eddie Sheppard remembered that Davis was on the council when he was hired in 2013 to head up public works. Sheppard said Davis always encouraged staff to be creative in coming up with solutions to move Shawano forward.

“He was a good guy, and he always had a very positive attitude for Shawano,” Sheppard said. “We always felt like we had an ally when we brought up new things to him, and he was always very supportive.”