HOUSTON – To hear others tell it, Raymond Davis watched as three men approached his front porch in 1970.
Before Hassell Franklin, Lloyd Warren or Don Livingston could speak, Davis got to the point and curtly replied. “I know why ya’ll are here. I’ll be at work tomorrow.”
Franklin Corporation honored Davis on his 93rd birthday March 20, with a cake, plaque and stories of the early days at Franklin.
“It was the only way I could get you out of my yard,” Davis said as Franklin’s hand rested on his shoulder.
Those that told stories of Davis said he has always been a man of few words, but when he did speak it was always true, straight-forward and “colorful.”
“He was the fourth person we hired,” said Franklin. “We also hired his wife Mary Alice. Their work ethic and ability to get the job done are what helped make this company successful.”
Franklin pointed out Davis was a combat veteran of World War II.
“They call them ‘The Greatest Generation,’ and it’s true,” said Franklin. “They weren’t afraid to work hard and you could count on them to show up every day, do their job well and do what they had to, to get the job done.”
Mark Franklin, President and COO of Franklin Corp., said his first job at the plant was working under Davis.
“I was in the 9th or 10th grade and he told me he didn’t care what my last name was,” said the younger Franklin. “He made it clear if I didn’t work hard and do my job well, he would fire me.”
Gerald Harmon said Davis would look at his watch if he caught you headed to the bathroom or coming back from a break.
“I was kind of green when I first went to work here,” said Harmon. “Mr. Raymond worked hard and he expected the same out of everyone else. I always found him to be fair and honest.”
Billy Huggins told of getting chewed out by Davis and finding a Franklin label and secretly sticking it to Davis’ backside.
“He had to go to the front office for something and he came back all red and mad,” said Davis. “The line laughed so hard and long that he said if he ever found out who did it, he would fire them. I have never told anyone I did that until today.”
Hassell Franklin said the company has repeatedly looked for Davis’ employment application and it has never been found.
“He showed up and went to work and we started paying him,” said Franklin. “Raymond was never a man for a lot of paperwork.
Davis retired in 1990 after 20 years with Franklin.
Since 1970 Franklin Corporation has been recognized for supplying quality upholstered motion furniture worldwide. Franklin is one of the largest privately owned furniture manufacturers in the United States with over 1,300 employees.
Over its 40-year existence, Franklin has undergone countless building expansions now totaling over 1,100,000 square feet and technological improvements in various areas to meet customer needs.