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Paul Davis

Born: Fri., May 3, 1935
Died: Sun., Apr. 5, 2020

Family to do services at later date

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Paul Llewellyn Davis was born May 3, 1935, in Myrtle Point, Oregon. He died at his home, Riverfork Ranch, in Gravelford, Oregon, on April 5, 2020.

The eldest son of Paul Brown and Opal Arrilda (Southmayd) Davis, Paul had a younger brother, Gary, and sister, Dian. He attended Gravelford and Myrtle Point schools, graduating from MPHS in 1954. He married his high school sweetheart, Kay Cribbins, in 1954 and they made their home in the Myrtle Point and Coquille areas before finally settling in 1959 on the ranch where Paul grew up. Together the couple raised four children: Larry, Pam, Brian and Cindy.

A lover of farming, at a young age Paul learned animal husbandry and crop management through his participation in the Gravelford 4-H Club, and his involvement in the Future Farmers of America program during his high school years. In addition to working full-time, Paul spent his entire life managing the land, raising hay and livestock. For over 50 years Paul and Kay raised a large flock of sheep and Paul volunteered at the annual wool and lamb pools. He could often be heard to say, “Take care of the land and it will take care of you,” and, “sheep keep you humble.”

Paul had a number of jobs over the years including dairy farming, working in the Myrtle Point Cannery and Myrtle Point Cheese Factory, carpentering with his uncles Ellis and Chuck Southmayd, working for the Bureau of Public Roads, and 32 years with the Coos County Road Department where he served as assistant roadmaster before retiring in 1998.

Hard-working, generous and thoughtful, Paul was kind to all he met. He lived his life with integrity and determination, never giving in or quitting, even when it might’ve seemed the easier way. The perfect blend of Independence and self-sufficiency, by example he taught his children to not be afraid of huge challenges. Like the year they started making silage to feed the sheep and, among other things, put together a salvaged silo as though building a giant jigsaw puzzle. Paul lived by the rule of “Don’t pay someone else to do a job you can do yourself” and the family mottos became, “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without,” and “Work is play and play is work.” He was teasingly referred to as the Mayor of Gravelford, not because he wanted to tell others what to do, but because he watched out for his neighbors and was always thinking of solutions to their problems, or answers to their needs. From giving someone a jump start or a tow, to digging ditches with his backhoe, he was always ready to lend a hand or a tool to help someone out. And if you borrowed a tool from him, he would not let you forget you had and would remind you until it was returned. Paul was a great thinker and problem solver and would often greet you with a, “So I was thinking…” and his visitor would wait to see what great scheme or solution he had worked out in his mind.

Paul developed his own “Coos County English” with interesting pronunciations and word mash-ups. Chimney was chimley and evidently became everdently. Flustered and frustrated mashed into flustrated, and his bee sting allergy led to parafied = terrified and paralyzed. He was a renaissance man in the callused hands, dirt-under-your-fingernails kind of way. Though he grew up  in a “man is the head of the household” era, Paul adapted with the times and was a helpmate to Kay, always willing to work alongside her to get the job done whether it was doing household chores or building her raised beds in the garden. Kay liked to think of him this way: “A man can do all things if he will – a real renaissance man.”

Always an early riser, he was typically up at 3 a.m., preparing himself the perfect cup of coffee and reading his newspapers, having learned to read the dailies on his computer after printed copies were no longer delivered to his door. He wanted to know what was going on in the world and would have long discussions about current events, farming news or something interesting he’d read or watched. He was also an avid reader of local history, devouring any books he could get his hands on. With all his years in the road department, he knew the back roads well and enjoyed  discussing with family and friends who was related to whom, where they lived, what they did, and where they were going.

A lover of farm equipment, Paul amassed a large collection of machinery - anything that could get the job done, and many that had to be fussed with to start when you needed them. He would always justify his “toys” by saying, “It’s okay, it’s coming out of the “farm account.” His tool of choice was a chainsaw, with which he built barns, house additions and an average of six cord of firewood every year to heat the house. In addition to his farming interests, Paul liked to dabble in photography and painting, and he and Kay enjoyed many Elderhostel trips together around the Pacific Northwest. He was a dedicated volunteer and served on the Port of Coquille board, and as a volunteer with the Coos County Logging Museum and Myrtle Point Senior Meals. He was a member of the Myrtle Grange, Coquille Valley Genealogy Club and Myrtle Point First Christian Church.

Paul is survived by his wife, Kay; children, Larry (Lisa) Davis, Toledo, OR; Pam (Tim) Wright, Oakridge, OR; Brian (Aura Lee) Davis, Greenacres, OR; and Cindy (Byron) Peterson, Gravelford, OR. Grandchildren Aerynne Wright, Makenna Davis, Bryna Nice, Kelsey Peterson and Justus Davis. Great-grandchildren Matthew Townley and Harper, Jackson and Ian Nice. He is also survived by sister Dian (Bill) Pendergrass, Seattle, sister-in-law Sandra Davis, Gravelford, brother-in-law Ron Cribbins and wife Avis, Bridge, and brother-in-law Sam Cribbins, also of Bridge; numerous cousins, nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and brother, Gary.

A quote that sums up Paul’s life was written by L. Frank Baum: “A heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others.” He lives on in the lives of his family and friends when we extend a hand in greeting, offer support and help, and put others before self. Paul was buried in the Fetter/Jennings Cemetery near Remote, Oregon. A celebration of life will be held when the Coronovirus Pandemic distance restrictions are lifted and we can all join together to remember and honor him.



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