Meet Fr. Clement Arthur Davenport
Father Clement Arthur Davenport loved golf, and he was a scratch golfer. But we honor him with this golf tournament not because of his skills as a golfer, but because of the amazing person he was to so many of us. He was our Nativity Pastor for 23 years. A strong supporter of the Men’s Club.
Fr. Davenport died on August 19, 2014, on his 90th birthday. He was born in Oakland to Clement Joseph and Mina Poston Davenport. He and his brothers William and Walter attended Saint Joseph Grammar School in Berkeley. Art went on to Saint Joseph’s College in Mountain View before entering Saint Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park. Fr. Art was ordained by Archbishop John J. Mitty on December 18, 1948 at Saint Mary’s Cathedral, and celebrated his First Solemn Mass at Saint Joseph’s Church in Berkeley.
Initially assigned to Holy Name of Jesus Church, he was commissioned a Chaplain with the U.S. Army on June 6, 1950, and was called to active duty in Korea with the 820th Aviation Engineer Battalion in 1952. Fr. Davenport completed a year in Korea, serving the men of the Forty-Fifth Division, 279th Infantry Regiment and returned to the Archdiocese and an assignment at Saint Bernard Church in Oakland. Fr. Davenport was appointed to Saint Philip Church in San Francisco in 1958, and later that year began two years of service as Chaplain at Saint Mary’s Hospital in San Francisco. On June 17, 1960, Fr. Art was appointed as Associate Pastor of Church of the Nativity in Menlo Park where he served for five years until being assigned to Saint Thomas the Apostle Church, where he also served as Chaplain at the Veteran’s Administration Hospital at Fort Miley. In September, 1966 Fr. Davenport was recalled to active duty in the Army with the rank of Major, and was stationed in Vietnam as Brigade Chaplain for the First Infantry Division. He and his nine assistant chaplains ministered to approximately 30,000 men. Fr. Davenport was awarded the bronze star with three oak leaf clusters for acts of bravery, two air medals, two Army commendations, and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. He retired from the military in February 1971 as an Army Chaplain with the rank of full Colonel, remaining in the Active Reserve. In April, 1971, Fr. Davenport was given his first pastorate, at Saint Peter Parish in Pacifica.Fr. Davenport was named Pastor of Church of the Nativity in Menlo Park in 1976. During his years there, he also ministered as Adjunct Chaplain to the San Francisco 49ers. In 1999, after serving at Church of the Nativity for 23 years, Fr. Davenport retired. He resided at Saint Matthew Parish for six years and then returned to live in retirement at Church of the Nativity. In 2013, Father moved to Nazareth House in San Rafael.
Father Davenport kept the message simple, and he lived this every day, whether ministering to the troops overseas, or guiding us right here at Nativity: Love Jesus. Love each other.
This golf tournament is but a simple way for us to honor a truly great man, by playing the sport he loved.