HAMILTON - Merril "Dave" Davis, 78, of Hamilton passed peacefully in his sleep Friday, January 24, 2020. He had a brief stay in Marcus Daly Memorial Hospice, after a lengthy battle with Multiple Myeloma. He is now in the arms of his Lord and Savior.
Dave was born August 19, 1941 in Bend, Oregon, to Francis Edgar and LaNeve Cleora Davis, (deceased). Also preceded in death is his brother, Alan Gene.
Dave attended all of his school years in Durango, Colorado. Following high school, Dave joined the U.S. Army in 1959. He loved this country; he was a true patriot, serving for more than 20 years. Dave served us all in Germany, Korea and Vietnam to name a few deployments, earning numerous metals. Dave was a “Once Army, always Army” kind of guy, if that's how they got it done then, that's how we will do it now. He proudly flew this nation's flag daily. Upon retiring from the US Army, Dave worked for the American Numismatic Association from 1980 until 2002 in Colorado Springs. He also belonged to the Masons, The Mountain Man Association in Colorado and was a lifetime member of the V.F.W.
His passion for being in the outdoors was cultivated as a boy, choosing to sleep outdoors on a cot, just to be closer to nature. Dave often caught the families' dinner, fishing a nearby river, always an extra fish for the family cat. Dave loved to hunt, fish and tie flies. Moving to Montana was an extension of his love of nature. Quiet times were for reading good books.
In 1953, a Jr. High Woodshop class germinated his passion to create beautiful furniture. He became an incredible carpenter. Dave and Norma's home is full of his beautiful creations of craftsmanship.
Dave was married to his high school sweetheart and love of his life, Norma J. Davis. A true love story, Dave joined the Army, apart by miles and time, they led separate lives, only to find and reunite many years later. Their love for each other rekindled. He welcomed Norma' s daughters, Debbie (Bruce) Weigel, of Arizona and Tracy (Kurt) Krech of Washington into his existing family; LaLeve (Dean) Lujan, of Wyoming, Donna (Craig) Mauersberg of Maryland and Tania Gaudieri of Florida.
Dave is survived by his sisters, LeNeve (Don) Dilts of Colorado, Willo Balfrey of California, Tania Stone of South Carolina and Aloha (Jim) Connor, of Colorado. Dave was blessed to have many grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
For those who knew Dave, you no doubt enjoyed his quick wit and PG humor. He loved to sneak up on you with a good mind bender. You could see the sparkle in his eyes and his slow grin as your mind became challenged. Ever the Christian gentleman, he was an honorable man. Dave gave the best bear hugs. He was kind and loving to those privileged to be in his circle of friends.
If you wish, donations can be made in his name to the charity of your choice or his preference, Marcus Daly Hospice. A celebration of his life will be at the First Presbyterian Church followed by services at Western Montana State Veterans Cemetery in Missoula in early summer (date to be announced).
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