Davis Helped Build Parents' Business into National Leader

Lake Forest resident is dead at age 85.


From its modest beginnings in her parents Skokie home, Gloria Westerberg Davis helped build Aparacor, Inc., into a national leader in party-plan sales of women's clothing and accessories.

A 47-year resident of , Davis died July 8 at the age of 85 at Lake Forest Place.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. July 16 at , 700 N. Sheridan Road.

Davis is survived by a daughter, Cheryl Davis Hayes of Washington, D.C., and a son, Toby Davis of Lake Forest; six grand children; and a great-grand child. In lieu of flowers, Davis and her family have requested donations to The P.E.O. Foundation Chapter MQ IL Fund and be sent to Chapter MQ PEO, P.O. Box 257, Lake Forest IL 60045.

Davis’ parents, Lawrence and Mabel Westerberg, founded the Evanston-based Aparacor in 1952. She served in many capacities with Aparacor, including fashion designer, model, customer service representative, and communications director. She took charge of Aparacor’s sales force and led large group events as vice president for corporate affairs from 1978-84.

She followed her father, and former husband, James G. Davis, as chairman, president and CEO from 1984-88. Davis also served as a member of the corporate board from 1971-85. Davis' marriage to James Davis ended in divorce in 1978.

The company had three major divisions: Queen's-Way to Fashion, a direct selling company, which brought fashion directly to customer's homes; Career Guild, a direct marketing company, which was a pioneer in catalogue sales; and Nancy Reynolds Fashion Finds, which liquidated out of season apparel through outlet stores.

Davis was also a member of the Direct Selling Education Foundation Board of the National Direct Marketing Association in the 1980s. Davis, who grew up in Skokie and graduated from Niles Township High School, attended Stephens College in Columbia, Mo., and graduated from Northwestern University in 1948.

During the 1980s, she served as the vice president for Alumni Giving for the Northwestern University Alumni Board and as chairman of the School of Speech National Advisory Council.

While a student at Northwestern, Davis was a member of the Alpha Delta Pi sorority and remained active as an alumni advisor for many years.

In Lake Forest from 1965 until her death, Davis was active in local charitable and service work. She served as a member of the Oakton Community College Educational Foundation Board. She was also a devoted member of P.E.O, an international service organization dedicated to increasing young women's opportunities for higher education through scholarships and other philanthropic efforts.

She was a founding member of the Lake Forest P.E.O. chapter and served as its president for many years. She was also a docent at the Chicago Art Institute, the Oriental Art Museum at the University of Chicago and Ragdale.

yvonne craig July 13, 2012 at 02:18 PM
What a beautiful lady she was! She was my hero and a shining example of what a young lady can become! She will certainly be missed by many.


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