Richard (“Dick”) Davies passed away peacefully with his family nearby on August 6, 2013. He was 84 years at the time of his death, which followed complications of a heart attack. He will long be remembered as a man of strong moral character as reflected in his love of God and his deep devotion to his wife, children and the Colusa community.
Richard was born on September 22, 1928 in Nevada City, California as the eighth of nine children to parents Robert Davies and Frances (Brady) Davies. His early life was not easy by any standard. His parents died when Richard was only four years old leaving him to be raised by his older brothers (Eugene, Robert, Gerald) and sisters (Mary, Catherine, Veronica, Shirley). His older siblings doted on Richard and his younger brother Ronnie, who died at age 2. Richard’s hardships at an early age allowed him to grow up appreciating the simple things of life like fishing, hunting and his favorite childhood game, marbles. During a high school dance at St. Patrick’s Parish in Grass Valley, he met the love of his life, his blue-eyed Irish beauty, Eileen Burke.
His adult life commenced with his joining the United States Air Force in 1946. His service included tours of duty in Iceland and Greenland and work in Germany on the Berlin Air Lift. During the service, he became an office clerk and accomplished typist, which later came in handy on his trusty Underwood typewriter, which he used until his passing rather than a computer. Thereafter, he attended St. Mary’s College where he developed close and lifelong friendships; he graduated in 1954 with a Bachelor of Science in Business.
Richard and Eileen married in 1956 and went on to spend the next 57 years together. Their focus in life was their family and business. In recent years, they were able to enjoy some travel and time away from the office. Richard began his career with the Standard Oil Company, first in San Francisco and Sacramento and finally in Colusa which became home to the couple and their five children. Richard was a loving father, attending his children’s games, helping with their homework and encouraging them to work hard and have a love of learning. Over time, he started Davies Oil, working alongside Eileen and their three sons to develop the business. He had great admiration and loyalty to his customers, many of whom became his closest friends.
He was an avid sportsman, happy to sleep under the stars in the high Sierras. He loved hunting ducks, dove, deer and pheasant, as well as fishing. He would often say he wanted to be buried facing North so he could watch the ducks fly South for the winter. While an outdoorsman at heart, in Renaissance-style, he was a man with a love of music, plays and poetry. He could recite long poems from memory, his favorite being Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s “Ulysses.”
Church and community were an important part of his life. As a member of the Knights of Columbus, he organized an annual Crab Feed to foster community among members of the Knights and Masons. He founded the Golden Pheasant fundraising event, calling potential donors tirelessly late into the evenings. He took his turn maintaining one of his favorite spots in Colusa County, the “littlest Church in the world” and could often be seen watering the trees on the grounds with his children. Later in life, he organized annual reunions for his Nevada City High School, Class of 1946.
He was generous and loved a good surprise, often paying for the meals of others sitting near him in local restaurants then quipping that he was “the last of the big spenders.” If you were on his birthday list, you would be sure to start your birthday with a happy birthday tune on his harmonica. At family gatherings, he accompanied Eileen while she sang “Oh Danny Boy.”
Richard is survived by his loving wife, Eileen; children Gerald (Anne); Colleen Ronan (Joe); Robert; Mary Margaret O’Connor (Mark); Michael (Bonnie); grandchildren Brian, Katelyn, Katie, Taylor, Patrick, Garrett, Justin, Ben and Claire; and numerous other loving friends and family. His family takes solace in knowing that he has joined his own mother, father, eight siblings and many, many dear friends with our Lord in heaven.
The Visitation will take place at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church on Friday, August 9th from 5:00-7:00 p.m., 345 Oak Street, Colusa. A Rosary will follow the viewing, beginning at 7:00 p.m. Friday at the church. The Funeral Mass to celebrate Richard’s life will take place on Saturday, August 10th at 11:00 a.m. also at Our Lady of Lourdes. A reception will immediately follow at St. Bernadette’s Hall, 745 Ware Ave., Colusa. A private interment will take place the following week. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, Colusa; St. Mary’s College, Moraga; or the Knights of Columbus, Colusa Council 2145.