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Jean McLean Davis Passes Away

On Thursday evening, August 16, 2012, legendary Kentucky horsewoman, Jean McLean Davis passed away at her home in Harrodsburg, KY.  Mrs. Davis was born in Portsmouth, VA on May 2, 1929.  She was the daughter of development magnate, George Tutton McLean and Amelia Gatti McLean.

Mrs. Davis graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School.  She attended Sweetbriar College and the College of William and Mary. In 1949, she married attorney and Marine Lt. Colonel Richard J. Davis, Jr., also of Portsmouth. They had one child, a daughter, Jamie.

Mrs. Davis was world renowned for owning, showing and breeding American Saddlebred horses.  Her love of horses all started with a spotted pony given to her as a gift by her father, and continued for a lifetime.  With close to 200 World Championship titles with her horses, she was a legend in the horse world, both in and out of the saddle. 

In 1964, she moved to Kentucky to start her renowned Oak Hill Farm in Harrodsburg, KY.  Being in the midst of horse country had always been her dream, and she built a showing and breeding empire in the same way she lived her life, with grace and dignity. She was a master of bloodlines and the athletic movement of horses, using that knowledge extensively in her breeding program.

Mrs. Davis has received many awards over the years: The ASHA Breeder of the Year, the ASHA Lifetime Achievement Award, the Audrey Guttridge Award at the Kentucky State Fair World’s Championship Horse Show, Induction into the World’s Championship Hall of Fame and the first woman inductee to the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame.  There is a display dedicated to her at the American Saddlebred Museum at the Kentucky Horse Park and the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame.

She was an avid animal enthusiast on all levels, and supported many organizations for their care.  When Dalmatian dogs were turned away by families not realizing that they were not always perfect dogs for children, Mrs. Davis took them in and gave them a permanent home.

She was supportive of her beloved hometown of Harrodsburg, loving the small town atmosphere and the kindness of her friends there.  She was a supporter of many events in the community, and The Ragged Edge Theater.

A grand lady always, she is survived by her only child, her daughter, Jamie Davis Crabtree and her beloved grandchildren, Rebecca Jean Crabtree and Charles Tutton Crabtree all of Prospect, KY.  She is survived by cousins:  Jean Rowley Ellestad and her husband, Reverend Charles D. Ellestad of Frankfort, KY, Karen Rowley West of Dublin, GA, Audrey Bradford Saupe (Mrs. William Saupe) of Williamsburg, VA and Helen Ruth Collins of Phoenix, AZ, along with their sons, daughters and grandchildren. 

Mrs. Davis is also survived by her dear friend and farm manager, Stanley Riney and his wife, Linda of Harrodsburg, KY.  She is survived by her dear friend and head of McLean Properties, H. Glenn Gray and his wife, Dolores of Virginia Beach, VA.

Mrs. Davis is survived by a loyal list of employees that will forever be part of the Oak Hill Farm family: retired household manager and friend, Emma Griffin (Mrs. George Griffin) and current household manager and loving caregiver, Carol Faye Thompson. 

Her Oak Hill Farm staff:  Jim Ellery, Robert Bean, Nate Bean, Paul Ellis, Cathy McCambridge Stumpf and all of her in-barn and outside employees.

Services for Mrs. Davis will be held on Sunday afternoon, August 26th at 2:00 p.m. at Ransdell Funeral Chapel, 345 East Lexington, Harrodsburg, KY.  She will be interred at Olive Branch Cemetery in Portsmouth, VA. on August 30th at 2:00 p.m.  The Reverend Charles D. Ellestad of Frankfort, KY will officiate for both services.  The family welcomes your attendance at the services.

In keeping with her love and caring of animals, in lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: the Mercer County (Harrodsburg, KY) Humane Society, Wolf Run Wildlife Refuge (Nicholasville, KY) or the Alzheimer’s Association at You may, also, join the family on September 8, 2012 in Louisville as they complete the 5K walk/run to EndALZ.  You can join the team set up under Rebecca Crabtree, Team “Those We Love” on the Alzheimer’s website or on Facebook.

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