We remember Ted G. Davy (1926 – 2017)
Jan Nicolaas Kind – Brazil (compiler)
In previous issues of Theosophy Forward we’ve honored Theosophists such as Dr. Richard Brooks, Ianthe Hoskins, Einar Adalsteinsson, Shirley Nicholson, Paul Zwollo, Dora van Gelder-Kunz, John H. Drais, Dara Eklund, Geoffrey Farthing, Sylvia Cranston, Danielle Audoin and Victor Peñaranda.
In this issue we will remember Ted G. Davy from Canada. I never met Ted, and had only occasionally heard of him. Compiling a TRIBUTE is always a challenge and rewarding, so also this particular edition. It is truly amazing to discover how many fine and dedicated folks were active in the Theosophical movement and to learn about the invaluable legacy they left us. Ted G. Davy must have been a remarkably gifted man, a sincere seeker and profound student. Let’s proceed and find out more about him, celebrating his life.
Ted G. Davy
Mr. Davy was born in England on September 6, 1926. He was a young evacuee who was brought to Canada in September 1940 under the threats that the Germans would bomb and invade England during World War II. In Canada, while living in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Ted joined the Norwegian Merchant Navy when he was sixteen, and later the British Merchant Navy. He spent his early years as a sailor after the war. His experience on ships taught him a disciplined way of life
In 1955, Ted married his wife Doris, and they enjoyed many decades together. They had no children. The couple had met through the Theosophical Society, and Doris gave this account:
Ted, his wife Doris and their dog Bess at their home in Calgary, probably in the eighties
“I was first introduced to Ted at the Toronto Theosophical Society's Holly Bazaar in December of 1954.
We met again the following month when we both became active in an amateur dramatic group directed by a longtime Toronto Theosophist and we became engaged. Up until that time we had both been somewhat independent individuals but our coming together seemed to be a meeting of like minds and a feeling of having met before. We were married on a glorious Thanksgiving weekend in October with a few friends present and a fellow Theosophist held a reception of us in her home.
It was then back to our individual business careers in the city. In non-business hours we were both active as members with the Toronto T.S. in various capacities and kept up our association with the dramatic. We were strolling players who visited hospitals, nursing and retirement homes – even a women's prison - to provide some entertainment and laughter. Every Easter we performed a play at the Toronto T.S. with a Theosophical theme and it was a pleasure to work in such a lovely auditorium with its fine acoustics that had seen so many well-known Theosophical speakers on its platform over the years.”
During the course of his business career, Mr. Davy held “management positions in Canadian trade associations.”
He passed away on the morning of Sunday, November 26, 2017 at the age of 91.
Theosophical Society activities
Mr. Davy engaged in a full range of activities within the Theosophical Society.
Editorship of The Canadian Theosophist
Doris wrote of the time in 1961 when she and Ted heard from Dudley Barr, who wished to reduce his workload in the Canadian Section:
"He invited us to his home to chat about the magazine. He was thinking of one person to replace his then assistant but we made it clear that we preferred to work as a team. He agreed and thereafter whenever he saw us together, or in correspondence, he addressed us as Dorited.”
Dorited worked with Mr. Barr on the Mar/Apr 1961 issue of The Canadian Theosophist, then took over as editors of the magazine, continuing until 1992. They began incorporating visits to T.S. lodges into all of their vacations in Canada, the United States, and Europe, building relationships that served well in editing the periodical and in later leadership roles.
General Secretary of the Canadian Section
In June 1968, Ted Davy was elected as successor to Mr. Barr in the office of General Secretary. He would later say: “The workload of business careers and education combined with the office of General Secretary and Editors of the magazine was sometimes onerous but always we were supported by the many fine Theosophists we encountered.”
When he took office, membership was at a 40-year high of 399 members. In November 1967, Section headquarters moved from 52 Isabella Street in Toronto to 310 Dupont Street, and Mr. Davy had a role in reorganizing the section's records in the course of that move.
The Canadian TS engaged in a very well-received program of placing all the major works of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky into 26 Canadian university libraries, including The Secret Doctrine, Isis Unveiled, H. P. Blavatsky Collected Writings, The Key to Theosophy, and The Voice of the Silence.
Working with Joy Mills, President of the Theosophical Society in America (TSA), Mr. Davy organized a series of events - the North American Theosophical Students Conferences. The first was held at Niagara Falls in 1969, followed by conferences in Detroit, 1970; Toronto, 1971; and finally the the Olcott campus, Wheaton, Illinois, in 1972. Joy Mills regarded these events as preparation for the 1975 Centenary World Congress in New York City. Mr. Davy spoke at the 1978 annual convention of the TSA and made presentations at TSA Summer Schools in 1980 and 1981. He also participated in the 1984 West Coast Conference, held at the Krotona Institute of Theosophy and the 1987 Conference on Dissemination of Theosophy in New York City, sponsored by the independent magazine ‘’Theosophical Sparks’’.
Mr. Davy was a popular lecturer who spoke on such diverse topics as Madame Blavatsky, Stonehenge, the Mysteries of Dionysis, and heroes of mythology. In 1982, after his retirement from the business world, he was invited to spend a month at Krotona School of Theosophy to present a series of talks. In 1983, Mr. Davy was asked to present the prestigious Blavatsky Lecture at the Theosophical Society in England. His topic was “The Descent into Hades.” While in England he conducted a seminar at Tekels Park and delivered additional lectures.
In 2004 colleagues honored Mr. Davy by publishing a festschrift, Keeping the Link Unbroken: Theosophical Studies Presented to Ted G. Davy on His Seventy-fifth Birthday. The editor was Michael Gomes. The idea for this volume arose during "The Works and Influence of H.P. Blavatsky Conference" in Edmonton in 1998. The essays presented are focused on history of the Theosophical movement.
So, in this 4th quarter 2018 issue of Theosophy Forward we honor another fine seeker for Truth, a great Theosophist: Ted G. Davy.
My Time with Ted
Ernest Pelletier – Canada
My wife and I first met Ted Davy shortly after joining the Theosophical Society in 1978. Ted was then General Secretary of The Theosophical Society in Canada and had been invited to attend Emory Wood’s ninetieth birthday party in May 1980. Emory had been President of Edmonton Lodge* for over thirty-five years and had served on the Board of Directors of TS in Canada for about the same length of time. Ted had a close relationship with Emory, a scholar of The Secret Doctrine and a devoted student of the Original Program – dedicated to studying the writings of H. P Blavatsky, WQ Judge and the Mahatmas.
Ted and his wife, Doris, had moved to Calgary from Toronto a few years prior and were in the process of resuscitating the local TS branch. We often travelled through Calgary, so it became customary for our family to stop in and visit them for an afternoon. They had a rather large, completely vegetarian, black Labrador dog named Bess that our children enjoyed playing with. Bess was treated with an apple every afternoon which apparently kept her fur nice and shiny. The Davys were animal-lovers and over the years they looked after many of their neighbours’ dogs whenever the opportunity arose.
Ted and Bess at Fish Creek, 1990
On December 16, 1981 the Lizzie Arthur Russell Theosophical Memorial Trust was approved by The Honourable Justice WA Stevenson (who was later appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada), the result of a bequest to Edmonton Lodge by Henry Erle Russell in memory of his mother. Ted was appointed a Trustee and served as Secretary. In 1984 when Emory Wood submitted his resignation as Chairman, I was unanimously elected by the members of Edmonton Lodge to replace him.
During Trust meetings I had witnessed Ted scribble what seemed like glyphs. I was not aware at the time that he had extensive secretarial experience, knew shorthand and was a member of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators. I had at first wondered whether he had correctly recorded proceedings with those symbols, but the minutes were always extremely concise and precise.
Our mutual involvement on the LARTM Trust immediately sparked cooperation between Ted and I to reproduce rare and largely forgotten original texts. Under his guidance, I approached some of his many contacts and asked for their assistance in an effort to gather extant theosophical books and pamphlets.
Ted had developed friendships among the entire spectrum of theosophical individuals and was well respected for his mild and thoughtful opinions. He was also an avid collector of early theosophical writings. Emory Wood too was well respected, had corresponded with many international theosophists, and managed to collect a small but impressive library.
By the time the reprinting program got underway in 1985, Edmonton TS had collected a wide range of rare and some unpublished theosophical and related works. Ted managed to find some very rare books, including an early edition of The Bhagavat-Gita, edited by Rev. J. Garrett, 1849, [containing eighteen lectures in Sanskrit, Canarese, and English: in Parallel Columns], and The Platonist, Volumes 1 & 2, 1881-1885, edited by Thomas M Johnson.
Ted insisted on compiling indexes and writing an introduction for many of the reprints. A recognized theosophical historian, Ted, on occasion, would deliver a talk and stay for a day or so to do research in the Edmonton TS Library and Archives. Edmonton TS published his book Theosophy in Canada in 2011.
Ted and Doris hiking, Moriane Lake, 1998
Every meeting of the Trustees was held in Edmonton and Ted lived three hours away in Calgary. He had never learned to drive – never needed to – so he came by bus to Edmonton and I would pick him up at the bus terminal. He always stayed with us so we got to know Ted very well. On occasion Ted and I would go to performances of the Edmonton Symphony. Ted and Doris seldom came to Edmonton together as someone had to stay behind with Bess. The Davys were extremely fond of theatre, classical music and Broadway plays. When Ted first met Doris in Toronto in 1954, she was involved with theatre. After his passing we discovered that Ted had either recorded or bought nearly every conceivable variation of many of their favourite symphonies. They were both born in England, which accounted for their enjoyment and collection of British comedies. Most of all, Ted enjoyed watching his favourite soccer teams on television. Saturday or Sunday morning was usually soccer time, so I knew it was not a good time to draw him away with a phone call.
The Canadian Rockies, especially Kananaskis Country Provincial Parks and Banff National Park were their favourite hiking places. They often brought Bess to the Kananaskis area where she could run in the streams and do some exploring. They had no children; Bess was very dear to them. Bess was in nearly every photo taken during that period. Some years after Bess passed away and it became harder for Doris to drive her car, my wife and I would take them to Kananaskis or Banff for an afternoon of sightseeing and walking.
In their 80s, about a week apart in 2007 they each broke an ankle in separate incidents. We started delivering prepared meals every few weeks until they got better. Doris was diagnosed with severe osteoporosis shortly thereafter. Later, after a fall down a flight of stairs, she became too frail to participate in grocery shopping. We would make special trips to Calgary to bring Ted to do his “heavy” grocery shopping, so they could load up on supplies. Their neighbors also helped out. During all that time Ted kept working on his computer. He kept lists of various theosophical topics, unusual words and phrases, unfamiliar quotes and references, sayings, and little-known persons in history. Sometimes he would surprise me with a list he had been working on and ask if I could contribute. Shortly before he passed away, I had given him the name of a doctor who had joined the TS in the early years. Since he hadn’t worked on this particular list for years, he decided to redo it, but it was left unfinished. This was one of the last projects he was working on – Ted ran out of time.
* Edmonton Lodge changed its name to Edmonton Theosophical Society in 1989.
I must thank Janet Kerschner, at Olcott in Wheaton and Ernest Pelletier in Canada; without them this TRIBUTE would not have been possible. For more and detailed info go to Theosophy Wiki, click here: http://theosophy.wiki/
In our category THEOSOPHY, and being a part of this TRIBUTE, you’ll find five articles, written by Ted G. Davy: 1 Birth of the Theosophcal Society in Canada; 2 Occult Astronomy; 3 Secret Teachings; 4 The Descent into Hades; 5 Annie Besant in Toronto.
Ted and his wife Doris loved nature as one of the photos clearly shows. Hiking in a mountainous region was certainly a favorite occupation. They also adored flowers, Ernest Pelletier, when asked, could tell me that Doris, whose middle name is Rose, loves roses, while lavender was Ted’s favorite. Photos of these flowers will accompany Ted’s articles.
Symbolism of Lavender
Lavender flower symbolizes caution and the reason why this flower symbolizes caution is because of the history behind the flower itself. Many cultures used lavender flowers as symbols of cautiousness and as a sign to be careful.
Lavender flower is also a symbol of silence because lavender flowers were used during meditation and in moments when people wanted to be alone with their thoughts and emotions.
The lavender flower is a symbol of devotion and giving someone this flower is a sign of devotion and love towards the person you are gifting it.
Symbolism of Roses
The rose is a symbol of some very powerful elements. And it’s no wonder. Roses are heart-stoppingly beautiful to the eye, and their aroma is equally show-stopping.
With such an impressive presence, the rose is bound to stir up attention in human culture, and thus has ancient symbolic meanings throughout human history.