Frankfort real estate developer and humanitarian C. Michael Davenport, a self-made success story, died Friday morning in Indiana. He was 61.
His wife, Kimberly, told The State Journal Friday evening that he went into cardiac arrest where his heart stopped beating.
Davenport’s mother, Margaret Hockensmith, posted on Facebook last Saturday that he was in intensive care at an Indiana hospital. She said when she arrived at the hospital doctors told her he had a 5% chance of survival but that he had opened his eyes and was responding to verbal commands.
Davenport underwent three surgeries, Kimberly said.
A Frankfort native, Davenport was born Nov. 23, 1958, and grew up in Tierra Linda 3. He graduated from Franklin County High School in the class of 1975. After briefly attending vocational school in Lexington, he acquired his real estate license at age 18, becoming the youngest person in the state to do so at the time.
By the time he was 23, he had already purchased his first house, first vacant lot and taken out a construction loan — all while earning his broker’s and auctioneer’s licenses and juggling two to three jobs at time, he told a State Journal reporter in 2018.
“I consider myself embarrassingly uneducated,” he said. “If you want something bad enough, you’ll work for it.”
And work he did — at LEX18, where he loaded videotapes, and at General Telephone and Electronics Corp. (GTE) until the 1993 buyout, after which he branched out on his own — building residential developments, office condominiums, industrial buildings and professional office parks.
That was the same year that Frankfort Regional Medical Center asked Davenport to develop residential subdivisions area around the hospital for staff and doctors to live, which he did.
At the request of county leaders he built C. Michael Davenport Boulevard to link FRMC with the neighboring subdivisions. Not long after, Prevention Park, which features government and professional offices, child care and adult day care facilities, a YMCA facility and L.I.F.E. House for Animals, soon sprang up.
He considered the construction of the former PUSH preschool on Wilkinson Boulevard to be among his most special projects. In addition to serving on the PUSH Board of Directors, he also received the PUSH Award in 1992 and the You Make the Difference Beth Riddell Award in 2003.
Davenport also took chances. Hoping to create jobs in the community, he built an industrial park that manufacturer Greenheck Fan Corp. moved into 24 years ago.
His latest project was The Chandler, a gated residential neighborhood off Cardwell Lane that he named after his daughter.
“I do these things because I love Frankfort,” he said. “I’ve always felt I can accomplish more for my community through entrepreneurship.”
Davenport liked to do things big. In 1995, he proposed to his wife, Kimberly, by taking out a full-page advertisement in The State Journal because he knew she would never miss a Sunday newspaper.
God loving and a proud American, he erected a 150-foot flagpole where a 1,800-square-foot U.S. flag and a 600-square-foot Christian flag fly in the center of The Chandler near Interstate 64.
Davenport was also a humanitarian, serving as chairman of Franklin County's first American Cancer Society Relay for Life.
An animal lover, he served on the Franklin County Humane Society Board and was also a founding board member of L.I.F.E. House for Animals.
As part of a promotional fundraiser for L.I.F.E. House for Animals, he received recognition from Guinness World Records for the world’s largest piggybank, said longtime friend Clay Hulette, who is also area president of First Federal Savings Bank of Kentucky — another board that Davenport served on.
To raise money for The Frankfort Christian Academy, he chaired the “Duck Dynasty” fundraiser held at Rupp Arena and donated 500 tickets to disabled veterans.
“He created a nonprofit foundation several years ago that has thus far contributed more than $1 million to various charities and nonprofit organizations who assist others,” Hulette said during his introduction of Davenport as the recipient of the 2019 Danny A. Garland Humanitarian Award.
Davenport is survived by his wife and two children, Chamberlin and Chandler. Funeral arrangements are pending at Harrod Brothers Funeral Home.
“I have invested heavily here and it’s been an amazing ride through this life,” he said during the 2018 interview. “I am so thankful.”