Jeffrey M. Davis

August 5, 1977 - August 30, 2023
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Kapinos-Mazur Funeral Home
Grace Chang
Bev Selby
Shelly Peyton
Noah Barton
Muhammad Ali Shah
Javed Khan Light a candle


Our brilliant, accomplished and thoughtful son, Jeffrey Davis, passed away on August 30, 2023.  He had been valiantly fighting cancer for a year. Jeff was valedictorian at Cathedral High School and went on to graduate with a perfect GPA from MIT, where he majored in Chemical Engineering and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.  He earned his MA and PHD from Princeton University where he continued his record of academic excellence in his area of expertise: Fluid Mechanics and Mathematics.

As a professor at UMass-Amherst he earned numerous prestigious awards, including the Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award: an important National Science Foundation CAREER Award; and a UMass-Amherst Chancellor’s Leadership Fellow Award. The award he was most proud of was the UMass Distinguished Teaching Award, the highest honor on campus for classroom excellence.  One of his greatest gifts was his ability to teach.  Before his death Jeff was nearing completion of a comprehensive textbook on fluid mechanics and heat and mass transfer.  During the course of his research, Jeff discovered several errors in problem solutions in previous textbooks which he corrected by rederiving the equations from scratch.

In his personal life Jeff was an avid tennis fan, an excellent clarinetist and an accomplished skier.

He leaves behind his parents Christine and Benjamin Davis; his brothers Tim (Erin) and Jon (Sarah); his aunt Cindy (Ian); uncles Bud (Ginny), Paul (Pam) and Bill (Dottie); and several cousins. His greatest joy came from his nieces Callie and Sammie and nephews Big Jack and Little Jack.

The family wishes to especially thank Ciociu Jane and Charlotte, Francine, PNCU and Joe and Maria for all their help during this difficult summer. We also want to acknowledge Jeff’s oncologist Dr. Bruce Giantonio for providing him with hope, as well as all the nurses and staff at Mass General for their kindness and excellent care.

Funeral services for Jeff will be held Friday, September 8, 2023 at 11:00 AM at the Kapinos-Mazur Funeral Home, 64 Sewall St., Ludlow, MA.  Burial will be private, at the convenience of the family. In lieu of flowers, donations in Jeff’s memory may be made to St. Jude Children’s  Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105 or

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Service Schedule

Service Information

Date: Friday, September 8, 2023

Time: 11:00 am

Kapinos-Mazur Funeral Home


64 Sewall Street
Ludlow, MA 01056

Donation Information

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

In lieu of flowers, donations in Jeff’s memory may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital at

501 St. Jude Place
Memphis, TN 38105


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Timeline for Jeffrey M. Davis

Born: August 5, 1977
Died: August 30, 2023

Condolences for Jeffrey M. Davis

Kapinos-Mazur Funeral Home

Our sincere condolences.

The staff of Kapinos-Mazur Funeral Home.


Grace Chang posted on 9/21/23

In memory of Jeffrey M. Davis, Grace Chang lit a candle


Richard Turek posted on 9/11/23

Please accept my condolence on the passing of your son.


Carl LaFleur posted on 9/8/23

Jon and family, Very sorry to hear of your loss. The LaFleur family.


Bob and Barbara Poulin posted on 9/8/23

So sorry for your loss. Our sympathy to Ben, Chris and family. Bob and Barbara Poulin


Ninette Irakoze posted on 9/7/23

My deepest condolences to Prof. Davis's family. Prof Davis was an extraordinary teacher. As a graduate student who took his course, I feel very fortunate to have been taught by him and surely his wisdom, brilliance will live on in the hearts of the students he taught.


Nick Wu posted on 9/7/23

Dear Davis Family, my heart is saddened by your loss. I am wishing your family courage and peace during this time of mourning. Jeff is well known for his incredible brilliance, excellence in teaching and research, kindness and collegiality as a colleague at UMass. Your family extends to ours at the department. We share in your grief and wish you peace.


Pulkit Jain posted on 9/7/23

Prof. Davis was one of my best teachers and a very kind person. I was lucky to take two classes under him last two semesters. His dedication for teaching will keep inspiring me for life. May his soul rest in peace. My condolences to the Davis family. Pulkit Jain


Jungwoo Lee posted on 9/7/23

It is my deepest condolence for your loss. Jeff was an exceptional and respected scholar and colleague. His exemplary teaching, thought-provoking conversations, and high esteem among students have always been a source of inspiration for me. He set a benchmark for us to strive towards becoming better and more impactful educators. It is truly devastating to lose such an outstanding mind so prematurely.


Grace Chang posted on 9/6/23

Dear Davis Family, Jeff was a beautiful human being. A great conversationalist, it was always a pleasure to chat with him, whether discussing the improvisations of performer-composers in the Baroque era, the merits of learning Latin, or the finer distinctions between “exhaustion,” “weariness,” and “fatigue.” He wrote and spoke eloquently, even while in considerable pain. He possessed an elegant mind and appreciated beauty in various forms: art, architecture, nature, music, mathematics, poetry. He very much valued looking at the world with a sense of wonder and curiosity. Jeff showed an extraordinary amount of both grit and grace this past year. As his acupuncturist, my purpose was to support him, particularly his health, but he also taught me a lot. On the treatment table, he showed emotional honesty, moral strength, and humility in the face of adversity. If only he could know that the wisdom I gained from caring for him will be carried forward to help my current and future patients. It was an honor and a privilege to have known him, and he will be sorely missed. With deepest sympathy, Grace Chang


Bev Selby posted on 9/6/23

Gone from our sight, but never from our hearts.


Jack Talmadge posted on 9/6/23

So very sorry Ben. Our hearts and prayers are with you.


Jane posted on 9/6/23

Although I did not know your son, Jeffrey's obituary completely touched me. He was, by all accounts, extremely accomplished and very kind. May the sweet Lord hold you and comfort you as you grieve. Please know others can feel your tremendous loss. Rest In Peace Jeffrey


Shelly Peyton posted on 9/6/23

Dear Davis Family, My deepest condolences for your loss. Jeff was a brilliant, thoughtful, and collegial member of the UMass Chemical Engineering faculty for many years. He was an amazing scholar and a true leader in his field. He was the most conscientious and caring teacher for his students. He was also an insightful and thoughtful mentor to his faculty colleagues. My thoughts are with you and we will miss him dearly.


Bobby Johnston posted on 9/6/23

Prof. Davis is well known for his incredible brilliance. Through 22 years of school, he stands at the intellectual top of all the teachers and professors I have ever met. Amazingly, this is not the most remarkable thing about Jeff, but rather his unmatched kindness. Nearly every professor (and person in general) seem to have a trade off where (success)x(kindness)=constant, such that the more successful a person becomes, the less time and energy they have to interact with individuals. Somehow, Jeff broke this relationship. Out of ~50 professors at UMass that I took classes with, Jeff was the only one to ever, and consistently, say hello to me, by name, if he saw me in the hallway. When I saw him for office hours to ask about a fluid mechanics exam problem, he: noticed my hand was injured, asked me how I injured it and if it was OK (it was from basketball), talked with me about his exercise and jumping and how his brother built a gym with friends and family, and then proceeded to help me understand the exam answer and inform me how it was similar to the question he had when he was in undergrad (he made the problem simpler for us by allowing calculators, whereas he realized he could just manually iterate the problem when he had to solve it). I would have loved to have been his graduate student if not for geographic constraints, and in any case under the idea of an Academic Family Tree, I hope to think of him as an Academic Uncle. Jeff will always be an outstanding role model of a human to me, I feel deeply lucky to have taken two classes with him, and I hope I can treat others the way Jeff so kindly treated everyone around him.


MaryAlice Prill posted on 9/6/23

Larry & I are so sorry for your loss. Prayers to you & your family.


Jieying posted on 9/5/23

In memory of Jeffrey M. Davis, Jieying lit a candle


Noah Barton posted on 9/5/23

In memory of Jeffrey M. Davis, Noah Barton lit a candle


Tami Paluca posted on 9/5/23

Dear Davis family, I am deeply sorry for your loss. I had the pleasure of working with Jeff at Umass in the Chemical Engineering Department. I was the undergraduate academic advisor, and for three years he was the chief undergraduate advisor. Jeff was always very supportive and treated me with kindness and respect. In my position I had the opportunity to speak to a lot of students. It was very common for me to hear them say that he was the best professor they had ever had. They all appreciated the care and energy he put towards his teaching. I think that one of Jeff’s gifts was his ability to take difficult material and explain it in a way that students understood. In addition, he never made them feel uncomfortable if they had difficulty grasping the concepts. It was a pleasure and an honor to have known your son. Tami Paluca


Muhammad Ali Shah posted on 9/5/23

Best Teacher


Muhammad Ali Shah posted on 9/5/23

I am shocked and very sad to hear this news. My condolences to his family. As a grad student it was an amazing experience to come to his classes. He made learning exciting and easy for me. For sure he was one of the best teacher, I have come across.


Javed Khan posted on 9/5/23

My sincere condolences to Prof. Jeff's family


Surita Bhatia posted on 9/5/23

Dear Davis family, I am so sorry for your loss. Jeff and I were PhD students in Chemical Engineering at Princeton together, and then colleagues at UMass for several years. We had in common that we both came from close-knit families and both enjoyed fluid mechanics, although he was much better at it than I was. He spoke of his family and his brothers often when we talked in graduate school. I was so delighted when the department at UMass hired him. Jeff was truly amazing. I have never known anyone else with the deep knowledge of fluid mechanics that Jeff had. I left UMass a few ago and only saw Jeff a few times after that, but I will always be grateful that we had the chance to be on the faculty together. Our discussions helped me become a better teacher. I am so sad, and I know so many of his friends, current and former colleagues, and students will miss him greatly. I will be thinking of you all and praying for some comfort to come to you during this very difficult time. Surita Bhatia


Stephen Perry posted on 9/4/23

Very sorry for your loss Chris and Ben.


Dimitri Maroudas posted on 9/4/23

There are no words that can describe my sadness for Jeff's loss. He was a dear friend, a brilliant teacher-scholar, and an exceptional colleague. He will be missed greatly by everybody who had the good fortune to interact with him in the Department of Chemical Engineering at UMass Amherst. With my sincere condolences and sympathy for Jeff's family, Dimitri Maroudas


Kathleen Mayo posted on 9/4/23

With our sympathy and love to all of Jeff’s family. Kathy and Kevin Mayo and family