Glen Davies Passes Away

By Bill Kauffman | Feb. 08, 2013, 6:36 p.m. (ET)

Bill Kauffman
USA Volleyball Communications
Phone: 719-228-6800
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Feb. 8, 2013) - Glen G. Davies, 87, of Ankeny, Iowa, passed away on February 7, 2013. He dedicated over 60 years of his life to USA Volleyball and earned the national governing body’s most prestigious award, the Frier Award, along with induction into the Volleyball Hall of Fame.

Davies, perhaps the most highly touted referee in USA Volleyball history, officiated in the first four Olympics that included volleyball (1964, 1968, 1972 and 1976). He was the United States’ first official to be certified as a FIVB arbiter in 1966. Davies was inducted into the Volleyball Hall of Fame in 1989. He then served as director of Volleyball Competition for the United States in the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. Davies directed the FIVB Special Referees’ Commission from 1978 to 1982. He is the only person who has ever served as the first referee for both the men’s and women’s Olympic gold medal matches and has refereed in more than 21 countries.

“I am so very sad to pass along the news that volleyball and USA Volleyball has lost one of our most decorated and significant personalities and contributors as Glen Davies passed away quietly in his sleep early this morning, surrounded by his very large and loving family, and especially his wife and partner, Norma Gene,” USA Volleyball Chief Executive Officer Doug Beal said. “It is hard to try to capture Glen’s impact and contributions to our sport. I will forever carry some truly wonderful images and moments of times with Glen and events that he made special by his involvement or participation. There were so many USVBA National Championships, All-American meetings, the 1984 Olympics at the Long Beach Arena, the Goodwill Games in Seattle and Spokane, his induction into the Volleyball Hall of Fame in 1989, the USVBA Championship Division, and his remarkable success and stature at the top of the FIVB and Olympic world of officials and his several gold medal referee assignments.”

Davies, who also served on the USAV Board of Directors and was chairman of the National Referees and Development, proposed and spearheaded USA Volleyball’s 75th Anniversary all-era teams as part of its 75th Diamond Jubilee celebration in 2002-2003. He worked tirelessly researching players and coaches to create men’s and women’s squads representing five different and distinct eras in the history of the organization. In addition, he produced the USVBA Diamond Jubilee Celebration book as part of the organization’s 75th anniversary.

"Glen was our living history,” said Al Monaco, USA Volleyball president emeritus. “He was our connection with the past. Whenever I needed the name of a person or event, he was my resource. I first met him in 1963 in San Antonio and it was immediately friendship between us without reservation. He, along with Wilbur Peck and Bill Baird, were the three big reasons that I got involved with USA Volleyball leadership. I'll miss him, as will we all."

“Glen was well along on a revision and update of the wonderful book he wrote to commemorate the 75th anniversary of USA Volleyball,” Beal said. “He had sent us a number of longhand written letters detailing his suggested changes and ideas to make the book and record of USAV more complete and inclusive. We will surely complete this project as a dedication to Glen!!!”

Along with receiving the Frier Award in 1986, Davies was recognized by USA Volleyball with its Golden Whistle in 1964, the Leader in Volleyball Award in 1965, the Wilbur Peck Referee Emeritus Award in 1984, the Kennedy/Johnson Heritage Award and Distinguished Service Award in 2001. The Glen G. Davies Referees Service Award was named in his honor.

“The ripple effect of his efforts has had an impact worldwide over decades,” said Joe Sharpless, USA Volleyball vice president emeritus. “The Referee’s Service Award is named in his honor. I had the honor of serving as vice president for officials when this was bestowed upon him and approved by the Board of Directors in 1987. He was the ultimate volunteer.”

"Glen was an inspiration to all referees of my generation and a personal mentor and friend," said Fred Wendelboe, long-time USA Volleyball board member. "I will miss the stories and memories he so generously shared with all of us. it was a joy to sit and listen to him reminisce about some of the most iconic names and times in the volleyball world. He is irreplaceable. He will be missed and remembered."

During his career, he was a physical director with the YMCA in Springfield, Mo., and Des Moines, Iowa; and an executive director with the YMCA in Fort Dodge, Iowa. He was a tournament director with the NAIA before founding the United States Collegiate Sports Council.

“Glen traveled the world for the sport he loved and was a terrific ambassador for the sport and for our country and for USAV,” Beal said. “Much of our stature and credibility internationally is in no small part due to his actions, quality, fabulous personality and warmth. USAV has a wonderful award named in his honor and that will help us all to remember this very special man. We have all lost a wonderful human being and a wonderful friend, and he will be dearly missed, and I will especially miss receiving those longhand written letters of ideas and thoughts and cheerful phone calls to just simply check in.

Son of Roy & Queen Davies, Glen was born in Kansas City, Kan., on May 21, 1925. After graduation from Wyandotte High School in Kansas City, Kansas he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II and served in Guam. After his service, Davies graduated from Emporia State Teachers’ College on the GI Bill and married Norma Gene Kendall in 1945.

Davies is lovingly remembered by his wife of 67 years, Norma Gene, of Ankeny, Iowa; daughters Connie (Tom) Goodman, of Lake Panorama, Iowa, and Gloria (Tom) Holmquist, of Georgetown, Texas; grandsons Tom J. Goodman (Heidi) of Altoona, Jay Goodman (Jill) of Iowa City, Mikel Holmquist (Melanie) of Olathe, Kansas, and Marc Holmquist (Holly) of Austin, Texas along with eight great-grandchildren and brother Walter Davies (Peggy) of Piper, Kansas.

It was his wish to be cremated and have a private family gathering. If you would, please note that memorial donations can be made to the USA Volleyball Foundation.

“We are so thankful for the long and productive life Glen enjoyed, and pass along our most sincere and heartfelt condolences to Jeanie and the entire family,” Beal said.