Philip Turner Davis

April 19, 1939-October 8, 2023
Philip Davis was born in Greybull, Wyo., the firstborn of Melba and Jonathan Davis, and spent much of his first year living west of Greybull in a one-room log cabin built of logs his father had hauled off the Big Horns.
His brother, Tom, was born 18 months later, and some of Philip’s earliest memories were of staying with his Davis grandparents on the family farm on Emblem Bench.  “Grandma made her own lye soap and washed her clothes on a washboard.  All the cooking and heating was done on a wood stove, so the water bucket would be frozen many mornings in the winter time.” His sister, Susan, was born in 1942.  
Philip attended his first two years of school at the East Emblem School house, just a half-mile west of the farm.  “All eight grades were in that one room.  There were four kids in my grade and about 15 in the whole school.  By the time I was in third grade, I had to do chores after school.  I fed and watered the pigs and when a little older, I also had to milk cows.”  Despite a busy life of farm chores and schoolwork, Philip enjoyed climbing the old cottonwoods, driving tractors, ice skating, fishing, and hiking with Tom and friends on nearby Dry Creek.
He graduated from Greybull High School in 1957, and worked from one job to another in Rocky Mountain and Southwestern states in an effort to establish himself, including farm labor, flag man, roughneck, and finally, when jobs were not to be found, “I earned some money washing dishes in a café.  I managed to save up enough money for a tank of gas, and headed to the Four Corners area in New Mexico. With less than a dollar to my name, I landed a roughneck job on the graveyard shift out of Farmington; a 90-mile drive to work each night.  But I stayed on that job till the hole was complete and the rig stacked, and I had enough money to get back to Wyoming.”
Philip was married to Sandra Strohman in 1961, and worked at the Greybull Bentonite Plant for a number of months, before moving his young family, now including both Lori and Louise, to Powell, and working for Cream of the Valley Dairies.  In May 1963, Philip was offered a job by his aunt and uncle, J. T. and Lucille Doty, at the private water company owned by Doty Brothers in Oceano, Calif.  “After a discussion with my wife, I accepted the job the day it was offered,” and made the move to Oceano.  Daughter Teresa was born there a year later and the family had a permanent home.  
Philip worked for the Water Department for 40 years, and was a member of the Oceano Fire Department for 25 years, becoming chief from 1982 until 1988. He was proud of being a founding member of the Oceano Kiwanis Club.  He got his pilot’s license and loved to fly family and friends up and down the California coast for lunch excursions.  During early years at the Water Company, he saw the need for additional education in order to obtain certification in the field of potable water supply, so began attending water treatment and fire science classes at night.  “It took over 10 years, but I finally earned my two-year degree from Cuesta College.”
He never tired of figuring out what made things work and took pride in keeping his vehicles in A-1 condition.  During early 2023, Philip was sitting in his backyard, admiring his 1966 International Scout, and wondering where he might sell it without a lot of bother, when a passer-by stopped to ask if he might wish to sell it for $4,000.  Surprised at the easy sell, but regretful for the wonderful times he had enjoyed in that vehicle, Philip accepted the offer, and the man drove away in the still-running Scout.
Philip and Sandra were divorced in the mid-1980s and he married Gina, who survives.  In addition to his wife, he is survived by daughters, Lori Lewis of Oceano, Louise Welch of Halcyon, Teresa Sherer of Paso Robles; stepsons, Brian (Cheryl) and Heath Erickson; 11 grandchildren; 12 great grandchildren; his brother, Tom Davis (Helen Beal) of Cody, Wyo.; and sister, Susan Summerfield (Charles) of Lester, Pa.
His family will always treasure memories of hikes through the Big Horn Mountains and the Grand Canyon led by Philip, who never met an incline too steep or a path too long to conquer. And no excursion with Philip was ever complete without at least one of his famous “short-cuts,” which invariably added an hour or two to the journey, but also a dose of adventure and unforgettable beauty.