Donald Baxter Davis: March 29, 1926 – March 8, 2017

Donald Davis

Donald Baxter Davis was born March 29, 1926, to Roxana (Williams) Davis and Raymond Davis of Berthoud, Colo. The family moved to a farm north of Longmont four years later. Don graduated from Longmont High School in 1943 and entered the University of Colorado, Boulder. Before finishing his freshman year he enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps and served as a cryptographer in London, Paris and Stuttgart. He returned to CU where he earned a degree in business finance, competed on the debate team, and was a member of three honorary fraternities.

He married Edith Louise Johnson and moved to Johnstown, Colo., in 1949. Starting as a teller, he worked at the First National Bank of Johnstown, remaining there to his retirement in 1994 as president and chairman of the board. In his 45 years at the bank, his goals were to keep the bank strong and safe, while serving the local community in the fairest way possible.

Don actively participated in his community. He belonged to Rotary Club, the Chamber of Commerce and served on four ditch boards. He served 11 years on local school boards, during which time Johnstown and Milliken consolidated into RE-5J. He recounted how the board wrestled with naming the high school Roosevelt and securing funding for building RHS and Milliken Middle School. To Don, naming the school “Roosevelt” represented pride and honor for both country and nature. His commitment to education included the importance of fine arts, science and technology, which is still seen at RHS.  He reveled when the new auditorium was finally built, something the board had hoped for at the inception of the district.

Don had many avocations: reading (especially histories and commentaries), discussing current events; and his lifelong passion, music – especially organ music. He was organist at Johnstown Methodist Church and later at First Congregational United Church of Christ in Longmont for over 35 years combined. His preludes and postludes included works by the great composers. He regularly accompanied student musicians at competitions and was organist at weddings and funerals throughout the area for years.

In 1978 Don married Sandra Lee Schildt Vandel, his wife of 39 years. They continued his passion for organ music by touring Europe, England and the United States.

They played competitive duplicate bridge to earn master points at club and tournament levels. Highlights of Don’s later years were playing music, with and for his children and grandchildren, and entertaining at their home. He loved calling family and friends to say, “We are having a gathering!”

After retirement, Don and Sandra spent winters at their second home in Oro Valley, Ariz., where he died on March 8. He is survived by his wife, Sandra; sister, Dorothy Rupel of Littleton, Colo.; brother, Daryl Davis of Longmont, Colo.; six children, Claire Messing (Daniel) of Falls Church, Va., Jeffrey Davis (Jennifer) of Greeley, Colo., Donald Kent Davis (Carrie) of Johnstown, Colo., Anne Peralta of Tucson, Ariz., Dean Vandel of Greeley, Colo., Dale Vandel (Bridget) of Johnstown, Colo.; 13 grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren, and nieces and nephews.

A celebration of life service will be held at First United Methodist Church of Berthoud, Colo., on July 29 at 2 p.m. Memorial contributions to the Roosevelt High School Music Department, Davis memorial, Roosevelt High School, 616 North Second St., Johnstown, CO  80534.