July 2, 1910–October 27, 2004
BY ROBERT JOHN COUSINS
GEORGE KELSO DAVIS WAS an internationally recognized animal nutritionist whose training in biochemistry and physiology gave him the background to approach applied questions from a fundamental perspective. His pioneering use of trace elements to improve animal performance through diet supplementation was the key to the development of productive cattle industries in Florida and in Argentina. He directed the first use of radioisotopes for nutrition studies in large domestic animals, which led to many seminal findings in mineral metabolism.
George Davis was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on July 2, 1910, the son of Ross Irwin Davis and Jennie (“Jeanne”) Lovinia Kelso Davis. In 1922 Davis’s mother died of pneumonia. George and his brother John went to live with an aunt in Lakewood, Ohio, and a younger brother Robert went to live with an aunt in New York City. His father remarried in 1923 to Constance Sibray, and the family reassembled. His schooling was in the public schools of Pittsburgh. He graduated from the Samuel Pierpont Langley High School and gave the valedictory speech. After taking a business course, he enrolled at the Pennsylvania State College (now Pennsylvania State University) in the fall of 1928,