Former Juneau resident Richard "Dick" Lee Davis Sr. died April 2, 2008, in Wilmington, N.C. He was 79.
Born in Columbus, Ohio, during the Great Depression, he sold papers on the street to support his family. He left home at an early age to work in the Civilian Conservation Corps. His service in the U.S. Army included work as a messenger in the Pentagon.
After working as a fire spotter in the Oregon wilderness, he joined the U.S. Forest Service and moved his family to Southeast Alaska in 1958. While living in Sitka, his family became the first to live in the "Forest Service House," now a national historic landmark. In 1967, they moved to Juneau to their home on Auke Lake. He worked for the Forest Service, measuring timber as the regional timber scaler for the Tongass National Forest until his retirement.
According to his family, he had a committed lifelong career as a volunteer firefighter, with many years as assistant chief with the Auke Bay Fire Department. Firefighting duties also included serving as a line boss for the Forest Service on many of Alaska's largest wildfires. He was a lifetime member of the Alaska State Firefighters' Association.
He also worked closely with seed companies in the Northwest since 1963, harvesting tens of thousands of bushels of local seed cones used for reforesting projects around the world. Trees in Scotland, Germany and other nations are the direct result of his efforts, much to the disappointment of Juneau's squirrels, his family said.
His greatest pleasures were his many hours of fishing, crabbing, hunting and enjoying the Southeast Alaska wilderness, his family said. They said he used his skills to feed his family and taught his sons many things about survival and stewardship.
"He was truly an Alaskan at heart," his family said. "He arrived at statehood and found our new state to be one where he could hunt, fish and find solace in its forests, waters and mountains. He will rest comfortably knowing that he raised his family to carry his strong values and ideals through their lives and pass them along to their children."
He was preceded in death by his wife of 42 years, Ruth Ann Davis.
He is survived by his wife, Rebecca Davis, of Wilmington; daughters, Deborah Collins, of North Carolina, and Lori Meiners and her husband, Robert; sons, Richard Davis and his wife, Kathi, Steven Davis and his wife, Yvonne, and Larry Davis and his wife, Patty, all of Juneau; grandchildren, Elizabeth and Emily Meiners, CJ and Elisha Davis, Jared Massie and Stefanie and Corey Davis; and great-granddaughter, Joslin Ruthann Davis.
A graveside service will be on May 6 at the Alaskan Memorial Park and Mortuary in Juneau.
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