March 6, 1921 — Dec. 13, 2013
Bill Davis of Milton-Freewater passed away on Friday, Dec. 13, 2013, at his home at the age 92 years.
Bill was born on March 6, 1921, in Thompson Falls, Mont., and spent his youth growing up in western Montana. He graduated from Thompson Falls High School in 1939. A couple of years later Bill was dared to ask the new school teacher to dance, and that took him on a 66-year marriage journey with Frances (Rambosek) Davis until her death in 2008.
Bill worked on war planes at Boeing before being drafted in the U.S. Army during World War II. He loved his years at Boeing, which grew into a lifelong fascination with planes and their mechanics. After his honorable discharge from the U.S. Army, Bill and Frances moved back to Montana, where he continued working for 35-plus years with Flodin Lumber, retiring as mill superintendent. Bill also spent 30-plus years as a truck captain for the Thompson Falls Volunteer Fire Department, an entity his father had started. When Bill wasn’t working, he was in his beloved mountains hiking to a lake, fly fishing, hunting or sneaking rocks in his grandson’s knapsack to add to the load. Bill was also a constant reader and loved to travel and explore. He and Frances decided to move to Milton-Freewater 18 years ago to be closer to their daughter and grandchildren. Bill became the unofficial neighborhood watch, watching out for all the children, waiting at school bus stops, gathering neighbors’ papers and mail and feeding dogs if someone was gone. Bill thoroughly enjoyed every minute of his neighbors’ friendship. Even up until the last few months, he mowed his own lawn, planted a vegetable garden and raised his prize dahlias.
Bill’s greatest joy was his grandchildren and then WOW, he got three great-grandchildren who became the light of his life. He shared a special bond with each of them. Bill loved teaching them the ways of life and provided many fun projects they shared including, making paper boats and hats, building and painting birdhouses with his great-grandsons and even a mean game of cribbage with his great-granddaughter, who actually beat him once. Huckleberry picking was also a tradition with the grandchildren and great-grandchildren. They would either go to the Blues or the Cabinets in Montana every summer. If someone reported “no berries this year,” Bill would take off scouting in his blue Mazda pickup. He always found a spot for all of them to pick their share.
Bill is survived by his daughter, Christine Wallace Burlingame (Ed) of Milton Freewater; grandchildren, Karlene Wallace Carlton (Garrick) of Los Angeles and Steve Wallace (Erin) of Hermiston; his three great-grandchildren, Tyler William Carlton, Jenna L. Wallace and Jace William Wallace. His parents; two sisters, Jewel Pears and Monica Elmquist; and his brother, Del, all preceded him in death.
At his request there will be no public services. Bill’s ashes will be scattered in the mountains in Montana come huckleberry season. Those who wish may make memorial contributions in memory of Bill Davis to the Walla Walla Community Hospice or a hospice in your community in care of the Munselle-Rhodes Funeral Home, 902 S. Main, Milton-Freewater, OR 97862. To leave a condolence online for the family visit: www.munsellerhodes.com.