Oscar Davis, former chairman and owner of Hayward, died Feb. 25, 2021, not long after celebrating his 95th birthday. He is survived by his wife, Betty; daughters Fran and Carol; and his son and Hayward’s former president and CEO, Robert Davis.
In his personal life, Oscar was a family man who loved to travel the world, often linked to his greatest passion of rare vintage sports cars. The Oscar Davis car collection is now recognized as one of the finest in the world. For more than 50 years, he had a positive impact on thousands of Hayward families, building Hayward from humble beginnings as a small tool and die shop in Brooklyn to a global enterprise.
Oscar arrived on Ellis Island as a Hungarian immigrant in 1929 at just 3 years old. As a young man, he worked in the emerging plastics industry. After various apprenticeships and starting his own small business (which he later sold), by 1964 Oscar had made enough money to approach Irving Hayward and purchase his metal fabrication business known today as Hayward Industries. Capitalizing on his plastics background, he was able to position the business as one of the first to engineer pool products utilizing plastic components.
In May of 2002, Oscar was selected as 1 of 150 people to receive the prestigious Ellis Island Medal of Honor. This group of distinguished citizens were recognized for their outstanding service to humanity, a celebration of life held in the Great Hall on Ellis Island. To date, over 1,400 American citizens and Native Americans have received medals. Past recipients include George Bush, Barbara Walters, Muhammad Ali, Lee Iacocca and Rosa Parks. Recipients are selected each year through a national nomination process open to the public.
At the ceremony, when asked if he had a motto or creed by which he lived, Oscar replied, “I try to live by the golden rule. Treat people with kindness and respect, and in turn the same will be passed back to you.”
When he spoke of Hayward, Oscar said: “The secret to my success has been the Hayward employees… we have a team unlike any in the industry.”