Hugh C. Davis, Professor Emeritus of Regional Planning

Hugh C. Davis
Hugh C. Davis

Hugh C. Davis, 94, of Leverett, professor emeritus of regional planning, died June 2.

Born Nov. 6, 1922, in Shirley, he spent his early years on the family apple farm before moving to Winter Park, Florida. During WW II, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps as an aerial photographer and received the Distinguished Flying Cross

He attended Stockbridge School of Agriculture and received a bachelor’s degree in biology from Rollins college. He received his Ph.D. in 1961 from

He received his Ph.D. in 1961 from the University of Michigan, where he went to study in the department of natural resources under Stanley Cain. The department was one of the earliest environmental studies graduate schools and provided new intellectual experiences frequently referred to during his professional life.

All his subsequent work revolved around the development of resource policies that fostered a stable environment by promoting healthy forests, clean air and water and effective land-use regulations.

His work in the U.S. Forest Service included postwar administrations from Roosevelt to Kennedy. He contributed to writing the Outdoor Recreation Resources Review Commission report, which was started in the Eisenhower administration in 1958 and published under President Kennedy. The Report influenced the expansion of the National Park System and the establishment of the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

In 1967 he came to UMass Amherst, joining landscape architecture and regional planning with the aim of participating in cross-disciplinary teaching and research. He taught graduate students in regional planning and in the new environmental design program. Among many services over the years, he directed the Center for Rural Massachusetts and the Institute for Man and Environment. He retired in 1993.

While at the university he also served the commonwealth as assistant secretary of Environmental Affairs and as director of the Environmental Institute. Gov. Michael Dukakis appointed him chairman of the state Board of Environmental Management.

Davis is survived by his wife, the former Hope Huntoon, and his two sons, Nathaniel and Anthony Davis.

A memorial gathering will be held at his home, The Farmstead, 24 Broad Hill Road, Leverett on Sept. 16. The rain date is Sept. 23. His ashes will be interred in a family plot at the Quaker Cemetery in South Yarmouth.