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“’Sig’ is the affectionate nickname for Sigmund Davidson, an iconic citizen of the city of opportunity; Roanoke, Virginia. Sig was born on January 14, 1922 at the ’old’ Jefferson Hospital on Franklin Road. Sig’s mom was Daisy Belle (nee Silverman) who was born in Kansas City and came east to Roanoke when her father established a retail work clothing store on Campbell Avenue. His dad was Joseph Davidson who was born in Lithuania in 1882, migrating to Providence, 1900 and to Roanoke in 1906.

Following graduation from Jefferson High School in 1939, Sig entered Roanoke College. Enlisting in the Army in September 1942, he was given student deferment until February 1943 to allow time for graduation. He was sent by the Army to Boston University to study reconstruction methods for what appeared to be a protracted world conflict. Receiving a furlough to visit Roanoke in October 1943, he came home and linked up with Harriet Cohen, a young lady from Winston Salem he had met in April 1942. Smitten with Harriet’s charm, he visualized a future of romance and long-term partnership. In January, the couple decided it was time to tie the knot. Taking the required pre-marital blood test, they traveled to Greensboro and expressed their vows in the presence of a Justice of the Peace on January 8, 1944 (and later in a Jewish ceremony) . . . Sig went into combat on December 13 in Germany and was wounded on March 3, 1945. Sent to a hospital near Paris for treatment and recovery, a Red Cross Lady informed him that Harriet had delivered a baby girl. Smiling, Sig replied that he already knew about it from reading ‘The Stars and Stripes.’

Davidson was awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star for his injury and valor in combat. Discharged from active duty in 1945, Sig came home t o work in his father’s store. In declining health and ready for retirement, Joseph turned the operation over to his son to carry on and died in 1968. Sig has opened and closed stores according to their success. The Davidson's moved to Brandon Oaks in 2004; beloved Harriet succumbed to the ravages of cancer on March 1, 2007. Mr. Davidson has been honored as Trustee and is the recipient of the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters by his alma mater. He has been President of Downtown Roanoke, on the Board of Center in the Square and has been unstinting in helping Downtown Roanoke thrive.

The revered Sigmund E. Davidson in his modest self-esteem raises the ardor of all around him. Without seeking praise and glory, he has exemplified all that is good in men and women everywhere. His quiet demeanor has been more powerful than rants and speeches. Sig is a man of the world, a paragon of achievement, a triumph of the spirit.” – Dick Baynton, Roanoke Star The Jewish Community of Roanoke and Temple Emanuel have always been important to Sig. He has served in numerous offices including Temple President and chair of the Roanoke Jewish Community Council. At the age of 83 he became a Bar Mitzvah for the second time – a wonderful occasion for Sig and the entire congregation. For many years Sig helped at our summer camp teaching the children to play chess. He has been our Jewish community fundraiser extradonaire. Temple Emanuel and the Roanoke Jewish Community are so much richer for having Sig among us!

Sat, December 9 2023 26 Kislev 5784