Friday, January 28, 2011

Obituary of Br. Dick Davis

Richard Carleton Davis (1939 - 2011)

(1939-2011) After a full life, Richard Carleton Davis (Dick) passed away early Monday, Jan. 17, 2011 after a courageous battle with Valley Fever.
He was surrounded by those he loved most. Born Nov. 8, 1939 in Southgate, Calif., Dick was adopted by Dudley and Helen Davis. At age seven his father had to leave for work in Guam, leaving Dick and his younger sister Linda to be raised by their mother on the family's lemon farm in Chatsworth. It was during this period that Dick developed a lifelong love affair with nature, taking long hikes into Brown's Canyon, and sleeping under the stars when he had to smudge the lemon orchard. He even had a pet alligator and taught himself falconry from an egg he recovered from a nest himself. The enormous responsibility of helping run the family farm helped forge Dick's tireless work ethic and creative problem solving ability, two qualities that came to define him.
Endlessly inquisitive, he spent a good deal of time in trouble for taking anything and everything mechanical apart to study how it worked. Dick joined the Coast Guard at age 17 before graduating high school. As an avid fan of Jazz, he taught himself to play the drums and used every free weekend to go ashore and see all the great Jazz musicians perform live. After the Coast Guard, Dick attended the Art Center College of Design where he continued to develop his natural talent as an illustrator and painter.

A graceful dancer, Dick taught professionally for a time before moving into high-rise construction where he became an expert at assessing and bidding on new jobs. During this period he spent a great deal of time developing his art, working in a variety of mediums including sculpture and photography.
As a hobby Dick would take cars apart and fix them often fabricating and combining parts to make all new designs of his creation. His varied skills and unmistakable genius led him to his final career at the Metropolitan Water District where he worked his way up to Senior Engineering Technician in the Safety of Dams Division. Always creative, Dick was proud of several accomplishments including the design and fabrication of a custom machine vital to the rehabilitation of observation wells and a mobile water pump station capable of putting out fires where trucks would have trouble accessing.

It was during this time in the early 1970s that he met the great love of his life, Jeanne Darlene Krowel, an elementary school teacher. They courted for two years before being married Sept. 2, 1974. On Dec. 11, 1976 they had their first son, Scott Edward Davis. The last addition to the family came on Oct. 22, 1979, with the birth of their second son, Mark William Davis. In 1987 the family moved from Woodland Hills to Simi Valley so that Jeanne and the children could be closer to their friends and work. The new home in Simi Valley represented a blank canvas to Dick, and he went straight to work designing, planning, and building a home that reflected both his artistic genius and vast skill set. He was always very proud that a contractor never set foot in his home. Dick retired in 2001 after 35 years of service to the district.

He continued to build and create, using his new wealth of free time to help Jeanne with her many school projects. In 2006 he began taking electric bass lessons, and formed a band with Jeanne and friends. This same year he began working on restoring and hot-rodding a 1956 F100. In 2007 he contracted Valley Fever.

Despite the fatigue and pain, he lived everyday with passion and purpose. He often said, "Learn the rules, and play better."

Richard is survived by his wife, Jeanne Davis, as well as his two sons, Scott and Mark Davis.
A visitation will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 28 at Reardon Mortuary. Memorial services will be held at 10:30 a.m. the following day, Jan. 29, at Reardon Mortuary, to be followed by burial at Oakwood Cemetery in Chatsworth. The family would appreciate in lieu of flowers that a donation be made to the U.C. Davis Department of Internal Medicine (Infectious Disease Research). Please contact 916-703-5117 to discuss the gift method that will best meet your goals and interest.

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