Philanthropist and LG Davis founder passes away

Max Goldbart
Monday, October 3, 2016

Ron O’Donnell, the “larger than life” founder of commercial printer and stationer L G Davis, has died aged 88.

O’Donnell died peacefully of heart failure at Solihull Hospital on 7 September. He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Patricia; three children, Elizabeth, Alexandra and Patrick; and seven grandchildren. He lived from 1968 in Wythall near Solihull.

Born in Henley-in-Arden, Warwickshire, in 1928, O’Donnell founded L G Davis Stationers in 1962.

Within 10 years he had purchased Midlands-based printer FT Nock, which immediately became part of LG Davis. Very quickly, the new print arm outgrew the stationery business.

O’Donnell managed L G Davis up until his retirement in 1993, remaining chairman for several more years. According to his daughter and LG Davis finance and managing director Elizabeth Smith, he asked about the company everyday up until his death.

While working with L G Davis, O'Donnell contributed to a number of charitable endeavours, including setting up a fund for Birmingham City Hospital that helped raise money to buy two new ventilating machines, and working for its Pulse Trust.

Smith said: “He was very philanthropic with his time and his money and he always recognised the need to give back to the community from which he got the business.”

O’Donnell’s friend and Antalis regional sales manager Bill Richards said: “Ron was a big character in the print industry and there are not many of them left. A true gent, who’s bark was worse than his bite.”

O’Donnell’s funeral took place at St John’s Church, Henley-in-Arden, on 22 September and was attended by more than 200 people.

L G Davis provides a wide range of digital and litho print services for consumers and businesses and stocks stationery and furniture items.

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