EAST ORANGE, NJ - A beloved East Orange employee Mike Davis, 56, fondly known as "Big Mike" and the “Voice of East Orange,” suddenly passed. 

There are very few people in the community of East Orange recreation and sports who did not know Mike Davis. For 35 years, he was instrumental guiding students and student-athletes to reach their best potential and achieve their dreams while working in the East Orange Department of Recreation and Cultural Affairs.

Paying special tribute to him, the City described him beautifully: Mike was the connector between East Orange and many sports franchises in the New Jersey/New York Area. It was through him that the City of East Orange was able to forge strong partnerships with the NJ Devils, NY Giants, NY Jets, New Jersey Nets, NY Knicks, NY Liberty, NY Mets and the NY Yankees, which ultimately led to sponsorships, tickets to games for the youth, donations, giveaways, sports camps, and specialized clinics for children in East Orange.

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Most recently, Mike was the liaison for the donation of over $600,000 worth of state-of-the-art fitness equipment from the NJ Devils to refurbish and reopen the East Orange Recreation Pride and Power Fitness Center. During the ribbon cutting ceremony, Mike was honored for his years of commitment and dedication to the East Orange Recreation Department. He also was the recipient of a Lifetime Citizen Award by the City of East Orange in 2019.

Known as the “Gentle Giant,” Mike was a humble hero and a true champion for our youth. From the parks to the pros, Mike has mentored countless youth, including professional athletes such as Jabrill Peppers of the NY Giants and Rasul Douglas of the North Carolina Panthers. There wasn’t a student-athlete that Mike Davis did not know.

Mike Davis was also the announcer for all the youth sports home games in East Orange, thus earning him the title as the “Voice of East Orange.” His loud booming voice could be heard in the stadiums, the schools, the gyms and the parks, where he would gleefully call out the name of every student-athlete and make them feel like one of the greats.

Truly an East Orange legend, Mike has touched the lives of so many people ─ from students, parents and sports fans to colleagues, government leaders and community partners. His voice will be missed, but his legacy will live on forever in East Orange history as one of the best to ever do it.

In his own words a few years ago:

“It’s hard to believe that I’ve been working for the Department of Recreation and Cultural Affairs for 32 years. May 12, 1986 was my first day! I started at Baldwin Park by Clifford Scott High School. My park director was Danny Hall. Wow, those are some wonderful memories. I have truly been blessed to serve this wonderful city and its citizens, especially the young people for this long. One City, One Community, One Goal Equals Progress!! It’s been an honor and an awesome privilege.”