Donald L. Davenport, founder and chairman of Mid South Graphics, in Nashville, TN, died April 8 in Naples, FL, from complications following heart surgery. He was 73 years old.
A resident of St. Louis and Nashville, Davenport was a well known industry figure and an active member of TLMI. Under his leadership, Mid South Graphics won Eugene Singer Awards, bestowed annually on the best managed companies, in 1994 and 1996.
In the 1950s he sold tape for 3M, and one of his biggest customers was Mark Andrews Sr., a printer and founder of Mark Andy. He then served as vice president of sales for Anchor Films in St. Louis, and left in 1960 to launch Pan American Packaging, a wide web business. He sold Pan American to British American Tobacco in 1986 and retired.
Don Davenport was active in the St. Louis chapter of the Young Presidents Organization, whose members included Mark Andrews Jr. Their friendship sparked Davenport’s interest in narrow web converting, and in 1990 he quit retirement and founded Mid South Graphics.
“He was an industry pioneer,” said his son Mark, who became president of the company in 2001. “He’s been in the industry since 1957, built major companies, and was involved with influential people. A lot of people knew him. I’m forever grateful for all the support the industry has given our family in the past weeks.”
He is survived by M.J. Davenport, his wife of 45 years; by his sons, Donald L. Davenport Jr. and Mark A. Davenport; and by his grandson, Jack. Memorial services were