Cover photo for Merrill "Jeff" Nathaniel Davis's Obituary
Merrill "Jeff" Nathaniel Davis Profile Photo
1941 Merrill 2021

Merrill "Jeff" Nathaniel Davis

February 13, 1941 — October 17, 2021

Merrill Nathaniel ("Jeff") Davis, III, 80, died October 16, 2021, in Rochester, Minnesota. Born February 13, 1941, in Chicago, Illinois, he lived most of his childhood and teen years in La Crosse, Wisconsin. He was an active organist while still in grade school, and at age 15 was dean of the La Crosse area chapter of the American Guild of Organists. Davis earned his bachelor's degree at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse, and also studied organ privately with Arthur B. Jennings, Jr. He completed his Master of Music degree at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas, as a student of Robert T. Anderson. Additional studies and coaching were with Willard Irving Nevins, Gerald A. Bales, Arthur Poister, and Heinrich Fleischer. Davis served as musician for various congregations, including First Congregational Church, La Crosse, Wisconsin; St. Clement's Episcopal Church, St. Paul Church, Zumbro Lutheran Church, First Unitarian Universalist Church, and the Congregational (United Church of Christ) Church, all in Rochester, Minnesota. He was a frequent guest organist at Seventeenth Church of Christ, Scientist, Chicago, Illinois. Davis concertized widely and was known for his skills as an improviser. In 1974, he was one of four finalists at the International Organ Improvisation Competition at the St. Bavo Church, Haarlem, the Netherlands. Davis was an active member of the Southeast Minnesota Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. Davis was also involved in the pipe organ industry as a sales representative and freelance consultant. The firms for which Davis worked included the Aeolian-Skinner Organ Company, Rodgers Instruments, and Rieger-Kloss of Krnov, Czech Republic. He also consulted on behalf of other companies, in particular Hendrickson Organ Company, St. Peter, Minnesota. He also was involved as a personal financial advisor, working for IDS. Merrill Nathaniel Davis, III, is survived by two sons and two sisters-in-law. He was preceded in death by his parents, a brother, a sister, and by his first wife, Jane Schleiter Davis, and his second wife, June Fiksdal Davis. A memorial concert will be held on Saturday, September 24, 2022 at 11am at Congregational Church (974 Skyline Drive SW, Rochester, Minnesota). Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Home is honored to be serving the Davis family; to share a special memory or condolence, please visit
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Merrill "Jeff" Nathaniel Davis, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Friday, September 24, 2021

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

Congregational Church U.C.C.

974 Skyline Dr SW, Rochester, MN 55902

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Visits: 10

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree