In mid-July, Terry Davis of Eagan went to see doctors for what seemed to be a case of pneumonia.

Within two weeks, Davis, 63, was dead from pancreatic cancer, spending his last days bedridden in a Twin Cities hospice.

On Sunday at noon, hundreds are expected to gather at the Eagan Community Center to remember Davis, a longtime city volunteer and Democratic community activist.

"I wanted him to come back to his community," Joanie Davis, his wife, said last week. "This is where everybody knew him and loved him."

The memorial event will be followed by the dedication of a bench in his honor at Patrick Eagan Park near the Eagan Art House on Pilot Knob Road.

"Terry was really remarkable," said Eagan spokesman Tom Garrison. "I didn't know anybody who knew him who didn't like him, and that's rare."

Davis was ill for months before his death, but it was not until mid-July that the pancreatic cancer was discovered.

Davis began his volunteer work with the city's Solid Waste Abatement Commission 20 years ago. He then served on Eagan's Advisory Parks Commission for almost 10 years, leaving that post in 2006. He was also chairman of the city Parks Commission from 2002-06.

Davis was a well-known arts patron and environmentalist. He served on the board of the Friends of the Eagan Core Greenway, and he was heavily involved in the Eagan Arts Festival and became a board member of the Dakota Center for the Arts in 2006. He later became president of the group, a post he held until his death.

People who knew him said he was so dedicated that he was still making out lists of things to do during his final days at the hospice.

"He was a tireless advocate," Wanda Borman, manager of the Eagan Arts Festival, said in notifying members of his death. "On the other hand, Terry was one of the most humble people I have ever met, always putting the accomplishments of others ahead of his own."

After graduating from Southern Illinois University, Davis worked for more than 40 years for Travelers Insurance in St. Paul.

He grew up in Belleville, Ill., and had polio as a child. His wife said he was suffering from post-polio syndrome in his final days.

Friends and relatives were caught by surprise by his death. He had entered the hospital for tests on July 16 and died at a hospice in Edina on July 29.

"It just happened so fast ... I was speechless," said Julie Andersen, supervisor of the Eagan Art House who worked with Davis for years. "It's a great loss not just for the arts community but for the community as a whole. He had a passion for the arts and a passion for nature, for open space. He was a tremendous man."

Heron Marquez • 952-707-9994