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Alice Louise Davison
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Obituary for Alice Louise Davison

Alice Louise Davison,76, an Associate Professor (emerita) in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Iowa, passed away March 3, 2017 in Iowa City, IA at Oaknoll Retirement Community. The cause of death was respiratory failure due to asthma. A Memorial Service will be held at 2 PM, Saturday, April 1, 2017 at Trinity Episcopal Church, Iowa City. Burial will be in Wooster Cemetery, Danbury, CT, at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Iowa Public Radio.

Alice was born in Washington, DC on September 10,1940, to Alice Bradford Tweedy Davison and James Forrester Davison. Her father was a professor of Law at George Washington University and an administrative law judge. Her mother was a volunteer for many charitable organizations, after a period of travel around the world assisting in establishing schools for the blind in many countries. Alice grew up in Washington DC, graduated from the Potomac School in McLean, VA in 1955, and the Madeira School in McLean, VA 1958. She then went to Bryn Mawr College in Bryn Mawr Pennsylvania, graduating in 1962. She spent her junior year abroad with the Sweet Briar Junior Year abroad program, at the Sorbonne in Paris, France. She majored in French and minored in Latin. She spent a few years back in Washington working for the Federal Department of Health, Education and Welfare.

Alice started taking a few classes in Linguistics at Georgetown University, then applied to and was accepted in the PhD program at The University of Chicago, obtaining her PhD in Linguistics in 1973 At Chicago, she developed an interest in South Asian culture and Languages, which became her primary focus in Linguistics. She then started her teaching career at The State University of New York at Stoney Brooke, part of the SUNY system in Long Island, New York. She also taught at the University of Illinois CU and the University of Wisconsin. She spent a year at Cornell University with a National Science Foundation Visiting Professorship. The majority of her academic career was at the University of Iowa where she taught in the Department of Linguistics starting in 1989. She retired from the University in 2016. Her primary areas of study included syntax, semantics, Hindi-Urdu and other South Asian languages. She has given numerous presentations at linguistics conferences across the globe. She has had papers published and contributed chapters in many books.

She was a lifetime member of the Episcopal Church, and a longtime active member of Trinity Episcopal Church in Iowa City. She sang in the choir there for many years. Her other interests include music, photography, the performing arts, and art and design. She was president of the Iowa City Early Keyboard Society for many years. She was an accomplished amateur photographer, and loved reading books of all kinds. She will be remembered by friends, family, colleagues and students for her dry sense of humor, her curiosity about so many things, her insights, her avid and wide ranging reading, and her warmth and constancy as a friend and teacher.

She is survived by a younger brother, James Laurance Davison and his wife Clare of Annapolis MD, a younger sister Elizabeth Bradford Davison of Washington DC, and two nieces, Laura Davison Joyce of King Ferry, NY and Elizabeth Davison Higdon of Edgewater, MD, and 7 grandnieces and nephews.

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Previous Events





2:00 PM
Trinty Episcopal Church

320 E. College Street
Iowa City, IA 52240

Cemetery Details


Wooster Cemetery

20 Ellsworth Avenue
Danbury, CT 06810

Memorial Contribution

Iowa Public Radio

Iowa Public Radio
2111 Grand Avenue, Suite 100
Des Moines, IA 50312-5393, IA 50312-53

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