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CHAMPAIGN — Paul Milton Davis of Champaign died Monday (April 19, 2021).

He was born in December 1938 in Effingham. He passed away peacefully after a long battle with cancer. He was 82.

Mr. Davis is perhaps best known in central Illinois for his 20 years as anchor of the WCIA Channel 3 news. He began his broadcasting career at WCRA radio in Effingham at age 15, where he did morning radio before going to school. He would win the 1955-1956 Illinois High School Radio Speaking Contest for his work there.

The list of professional organizations to which he belonged, led or volunteered for reads like the alphabet soup of news groups: RTNDA (Radio Television News Directors Association), SPJ (Society of Professional Journalists), INBA (Illinois News Broadcasters Association), SDX (Sigma Delta Chi), NABJ (National Association of Black Journalists), AAJA (Asian American Journalist Association).

He had a passion for volunteering at annual conventions, offering coaching and critiques for young and aspiring broadcasters. He was like a proud parent to those he helped, hired or revived a career.

He joined WCIA-TV as a staff announcer and reporter in 1960, moving to news anchor and news director in 1967. In 1980, he moved to Chicago to become news director for WGN-TV and Radio before separating the news organizations and remaining as news director at WGN-TV until 1993. He continued consulting for WGN parent company Tribune Broadcasting until 1996, including serving as acting news director at the company’s Boston TV station. He also served as an interim news director for a TV station in Augusta, Ga. He went on to become senior vice president for the Foundation for American Communications in Los Angeles.

Mr. Davis retired in 2009 but continued to provide individual coaching to news talent while attending state and national conventions.

Among his many honors and awards, Mr. Davis was named Illinoisan of the Year by the Illinois News Broadcasters Association in 1993 and 2013. He was awarded the Wells Memorial Key for Outstanding Service to the Society in 1997. In 2021, the INBA Crystal Mic award for Best TV Newscast was renamed as the Paul Davis Best TV Newscast Crystal Mic in his honor.

Mr. Davis was preceded in death by his ex-wife, Marilynne B. Davis, and parents, Plaford Milton and Zona B. Davis.

He was extraordinarily proud of, and is survived by, his three children, Paul Mark, Glenn Stokes and Marinell Kathryn; and grandchildren, Therese, Spencer, Tricia, Grace, Peter, Hannah and Ella.

Private services will be held later this week, and he will be buried in Watson Cemetery, Illinois. Condolences may be offered at

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