Bishop Bruce Davis loved his community and helping people in any way he could.
It wasn't something he recently started doing; it was something he had always done, according to friends who knew him well.
“He was just one of those people who loved people, because he was a Godly man,” said Milledgeville Mayor Mary Parham-Copelan. “What you saw with Bishop Davis was the kind of man he actually was in our community — always willing to help someone out in any way that he could and to offer them encouragement.”
He didn’t just act like a Christian, he demonstrated it in his actions toward other people, Parham-Copelan said, noting she had known Davis for more than 10 years.
She said when she first met him that he was an apostle, but that about two years ago, he became a bishop in his religious denomination.
The mayor said she learned Saturday morning that Davis had died from complications associated with the novel coronavirus COVID-19 at The Medical Center, Navicent Health in Macon.
“I was devastatingly shocked to hear when I heard,” Parham-Copelan told The Union-Recorder during a telephone interview Monday afternoon. “I had just seen him and at Walgreens on North Columbia Street about three weeks ago and he hollowed at me.”
She said she can't get over seeing him just a short time ago or the last words he spoke to her.
“He said, ‘Hey, mayor, everything going well,’ and I said, ‘yes it is, thank you,’” Parham-Copelan recalled.
The mayor said Davis told her then that she was doing a great job leading the city of Milledgeville.
“It really took me aback when I found out he was sick,” Parham-Copelan said, noting that she found out he was in the hospital a few days ago and that she had been praying for his recovery.
Aside from preaching the gospel and rising to the level of bishop, Davis also worked as a shift leader at Central State Hospital’s Cook Building for the past 10 years. Davis, who was originally from Eatonton, but who lived in Milledgeville with his wife, Gwendolyn, began working at CSH in February 2010.
Davis is the second staff employee at the state-operated hospital to die after testing positive for COVID-19. A little more than two weeks ago, a 53-year-old licensed practical nurse, Mark DeLong, of Baldwin County, died from underlining medical conditions associated with the virus.
“He was one of the most friendliest, caring persons you would ever meet,” Parham-Copelan said of Davis. “He always had a kind word for you and always tried to encourage you through the word of God every time you saw him and talked with him.”
Parham-Copelan, who is also a pastor, said Davis lived out what he preached about on Sundays.
“Better to live out that sermon than to preach it, and let others see it flowing in your life, and that’s exactly what Bishop Davis did every day,” Parham-Copelan said. “He was truly that inspiration that lived the word of God.”
The mayor said that was one of the reasons Davis was such a respected man in the faith community, as well as throughout Milledgeville and Baldwin County.
“He was always telling people that we need to be like Christ, and that we should reflect that in everything that we do.”