Raymond Lorenzo Davis, 89, of Scottsbluff, formerly of Potter, died Tuesday, February 21, 2012 at Regional West Medical Center in Scottsbluff.
Funeral services will be 11:00 a.m., Saturday, February 25, 2012 at the Potter United Methodist Church in Potter with Pastor Ed Hunzeker officiating. Interment will b e in the Potter Cemetery with military rites by the United State Air Force and the American Legion Post #291 of Potter. Memorials have been established to Potter American Legion Post #291, Potter Historical Foundation or to Potter United Methodist Church.
Friends may call at Gering Memorial Chapel from 9:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. Friday, February 24, 2012.
Ray was born October 14, 1922 at Clayton, New York on the St. Lawrenced River, “The Thousand Islands”. His father was Owen W. Davis and his mother Mary Renard Davis. His mother died when he was two years old and he was raised by his uncle and aunt, Steven and Leona Renard Desrosier and father, Owen and step-mother Mary Cummings Davis. He attended grammar school at Brownville, New York and graduated from Watertown NY High School in 1941. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps and served in North Africa, Sicily, Italy and Corsica. Upon his honorable discharge in 1945 he remained in the reserve of what had become the United States Air Force. He retired in 1962 as a Master Sergeant.
While training at Lowry Field in Denver, CO he met Dorothy Young and after returning from his overseas duty they were married in the Potter Methodist Church on April 1, 1945 which was also Easter Sunday! Ray and Dorothy lived in Victoria, TX where they both worked at Foster Field Air Base. Ray was discharged in November of 1945. Dorothy’s father, Earl Young, was a farmer ready to retire from his ground north of Potter so Ray and brother-in-law Charles Wier took over operation of the Younf farm. In a few years Ray took over the ground north and west of Potter and Chuck farmed the ground west of Gurley.
Ray became very active in the Nebraska Wheat Growers Association. He served as Nebraska president for three years, served 10 years on the Nebraska Wheat Board and was elected National Wheat Growers Association President in 1973 and 1974.
While serving on various wheat marketing and promotion boards and organizations, including the National Wheat Council, Ray had the opportunity to travel to many countries in South America, Europe, North Africa, Australia and New Zealand. During this time of providing education about wheat and the production issues concerning wheat, Ray met with many national leaders of the time, including various U. S. Secretaries of Agriculture and Presidents John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. Ray and Dorothy hosted wheat teams from Japan, Spain and France at their Cheyenne County farm and the provided summer agricultural internships for aspiring young farmers from France.
Ray was also active in local organizations and community activities. He served on the Cheyenne County ASCS Committee, on the Potter Public School Board, the Potter Co-op Grain Company Board and as a director of the Potter Historical Foundation. He was a member of American Legion Post #291, Potter Lions Club, and the Potter Improvement Committee. He was a member of the Security Bank of Sidney Board of Directors. For many years he served as Lay Leader of the Potter United Methodist Church and he was an active PUMC usher for many years. He was a Mason. In 2002 he received the Jay Stecher Potter Community Service Award.
Ray enjoyed being a clown in the Potter Days Parade and he will be remembered for many stellar performances in the Potter Mellerdrama, of which he was a founding member of the troupe.
Ray loved Nebraska. He loved the wide open Great Plains. Many times he said, “I should have been a cowboy!” He read hundreds of books about the history of the American West and when he finished a western short story or novel he would give it away or trade for another. Ray said, “If I go to heaven I hope I can be a good cowboy, and if I go to hell, I’ll be a bad cowboy, I’ll take whatever comes, just so I can be a cowboy!”
Ray is survived by his loving wife, Dorothy, two children, Dr. Steven O. Davis (Margaret)of Boise, ID and Potter, NE and his daughter, Carol Rae Emery (James) Gering, NE, two grandchildren, Emily Davis Kane, Esq. (Brian), Boise, ID and Dustin James Emery, Houston, TX, great-granddaughter, Zoe Kane and great-grandson Owen Kane, both of Boise, ID, sister-in-law, Doris Weir, Pueblo, CO and numerous nieces and nephews and their families.
Ray was preceded in death by his parents, his Uncle Steve and Aunt Leona, an infant son, Raymond Earl, one brother, Robert, there half brothers, Arthur and Herman Davis and Clarence Desrosier, one half sister Mildred Berg, one step-brother Lawrence Cummings and two step-sisters, Gladys Cummings Bowser and Margaret Cummings Ackerman and brother-in-law Charles Weir.