OGDEN -- Those who wanted a nearly perfect example for showing love, tolerance and understanding for others found this in Brian Davis. One of the most recognized professors at Weber State University, Davis died suddenly Friday night at age 59.
But those who spoke about him say the legacy he left behind won't quickly be forgotten.
"Brian touched a lot of lives, around the world and at home," said his wife of 34 years, Debbie Gregg Davis. "His life was cut short, but it was a full life, a good life."
Adrienne Andrews, special assistant to the WSU president for diversity, said Davis had an uncanny ability to help students feel valued and respected.
"Every time I was able to see him, I was reminded what an incredible heart and capacity he had for making some students feel included," Andrews said.
The adviser to the Muslim student association at WSU, Davis arranged for a Muslim prayer space on campus and purchased screens with his own funds to allow the students to be able to pray in the same space together with their male and female counterparts, Andrews said.
She also admired Davis' efforts to form and oversee WSU's Religion and Ethics Resource Center.
Among the activities at the center have been forums where students, faculty and community members could discuss issues related to religion.
And Andrews said Davis started a library in the center that allowed people to check out videos and books that could answer extensive questions about various faiths and faith practices.
He received national and international recognition for his studies on religion, which Andrews said served to create community.
"They can't replace the compassion, the love, that he had for all people," said Doris Cadman, a member of Ogden's Community of Christ Church and of Ogden's Interfaith Works.
"In order to make everyone else feel welcome, he sought out that information on his own accord," Andrews said of Davis' extensive religious studies.
"He did a lot of work on the Harvard Pluralism Project," said Bruce Davis, Davis' twin. "He mostly concentrated on Muslim, Sikh, Hindu and Buddhist faiths."
His other involvement included serving as secretary of the Utah Buddhist Association. It was Davis' ability to live a Buddhist ideal of loving-kindness that Mark Stevenson, MBA enrollment director at WSU, said set Davis apart as an individual.
"He had an all-embracing compassion for others. Brian really embodied that more than anyone I have ever met."
Stevenson said Davis had learned not to judge people but to accept them as they really were. "He was just an incredible person."
Davis was a member of the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Ogden, where he had served on the vestry of his parish and as the interfaith officer for the Episcopal Diocese of Utah.
Davis' wife, a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Ogden, said the two spent much time together worshipping and serving many faiths, including leading annual community interfaith discussions.
"That was a good eccumentical fit for our marriage," she said.
Davis worked with a variety of charitable organizations overseas, including the Working Group on Poverty and Development for the World Council of Religious Leaders, a United Nations advisory body based in Bangkok, Thailand.
It was in Thailand where Davis contracted an ailment that took away much of his equilibrium for the last few years.
Bruce Davis said this ailment was responsible for his brother's sudden death.
While Brian Davis was known in many circles for his efforts to include all people, he was also very well respected as a university professor.
"He was the go-to guy for a very long time for business," Bruce Davis said.
Brian Davis served on the faculty at WSU for more than 25 years, teaching in the John B. Goddard School of Business and Economics.
He was the founding director of the MBA program and was serving as the Century Insititute Scholar and Presidential Distinguished Professor of Business Administration when he died.
He received many awards for his teaching, research and other efforts.
He also was recognized with the university's Centennial Faculty Teaching Award, the University Academic Advising Award and the George and Elizabeth Lowe Innovative Teaching Award.
Davis was named the Rodney H. Brady Crystal Crest Master Teacher in 2000, and he received WSU's John S. Hinckley award for excellence in teaching, service and scholarship in 2002.
He served as coordinator of the university's Graduate Council during a period in which several new master's degree programs were launched.
In recognition of his campus-wide contributions, he has twice received the Exemplary Collaboration Award.
Davis also was awarded many research honors at WSU and was published in a variety of academic journals.
But even with all those honors, his brother remembers Davis as a remarkable person.
Perhaps the best example of his humanity, Bruce Davis said, was when Davis, who had become a committed pacifist, was the person responsible for helping the Standard-Examiner stay in contact with his nephew, Terry Davis, as he served on the front lines with his infantry troop in Bagdad in 2003.
Bruce Davis said that reality was interesting.
"He was willing to help people. He supported the troops even though he was not necessarily supportive of the cause to which they were engaged."
And Bruce Davis said he will feel the loss as deeply as anyone could.
"He was a great brother," Bruce Davis said. "We've kind of been joined at the hip."
And Andrews also saw the two brothers in that light.
A business professor who is now the university's vice provost and dean of continuing education, Bruce Davis often was able to work on projects with his brother.
"In my mind, they were a dynamic duo," Andrews said. "There was nothing that the two of them couldn't do."
Contact reporter JaNae Francis at 801-625-4228 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at @jfrancis.