DILLON – Carl Maurice Davis, 89, of Dillon, passed away Thursday, May 3, 2012. He was born Nov. 21, 1922, on the family farm on Blacktail Creek to Florence and Loren Davis. He attended public schools in Dillon, graduating from Beaverhead County High School in 1940, and then spent two years at Western Montana College.
Carl served as a Marine night fighter pilot in the Pacific Theater during World War II, for which he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.
Carl attended the University of Montana on the GI Bill and graduated from the law school in 1949. While in Missoula, he met his future wife Martha Brown. In 1950, they were married in St. Ignatius, and Carl established a private law practice in Dillon. He enjoyed his tenure as the Western Montana College assistant coach from 1949 to 1952. Carl was called back into military service during the Korean War. Carl, Martha and baby Susan were stationed in El Toro, Calif., where he helped implement the new Military Code of Justice.
Carl practiced law with partners Leonard Schulz, John Warren and Bill Hiritsco for 58 years. He served as Beaverhead County attorney from 1950 to 1970. He was a longtime member of the Supreme Court Commission on Practice, Supreme Court Judicial Nomination Commission and the Montana Judicial Standards Commission. Carl developed expertise in water rights, serving on the governor-appointed Montana Reserve Water Rights Compact Commission. In 1999, Carl was the recipient of William J. Jameson Award from the Montana Bar Association for his significant contributions to Montana’s legal profession.
Deeply committed to serving his state and community, Carl was instrumental in obtaining federal funding for construction of Clark Canyon Dam in the early 1960s. In 1972, Carl was elected as a delegate to the Montana Constitutional Convention, serving on the education subcommittee. He later was the hearing examiner for the Colstrip 4 and 5 power projects.
Always a strong advocate for public education, Carl was a member of the Governor’s Post Secondary Education Commission for Higher Education. He was instrumental in ensuring the future of University of Montana-Western in Dillon. He served various terms on Western’s Local Executive Board. For his advocacy, guidance and service, Carl received the University of Montana-Western Foundation Distinguished Service and Alumni awards.
Carl was a Dillon Presbyterian Church elder for many years, and worked hard to help finance and build the church at its present site. He was active in the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Dillon Kiwanis Club and Jaycees for many years, and was part of numerous civic and charitable projects. Carl’s engagement, compassion and generosity touched many people’s lives.
Throughout this busy life, Carl cared foremost about family and served as the rudder of a large extended one. Passionate about the outdoors, Carl and Martha organized countless family picnics and campouts, fishing trips and excursions to many fishing streams and mountain lakes in his beloved Beaverhead County. Carl’s family also was blessed with his inquisitive mind and broad perspectives about a wide array of global issues. Carl especially enjoyed playing cards and games with friends and family, and betting on about anything. His humor, grace and great love of family, friends, community and life will be deeply missed.
Carl was preceded in death by his infant son, Loren; parents, Florence and Loren; sisters, Dorothy Anne Forrester and Hazel Marsh; brothers, Bill, Lloyd and Raymond (Buzzy); sisters-in-law, Lillian Davis, Millie Davis and Margery Brown; and brothers-in-law, Roy Forrester, John Husted, Hewitt Martinell and Bill Flynn.
Carl is survived by his wife of 62 years, Martha; sister, Dolores Husted; daughters, Susan (Bob) Briggs and Alice (Dan) Huttunen; sons, Carl Jr. (Sara) and Steve (Bob); sisters-in-law, Tempie Ray, Carlene Davis, Boots Davis and Jan Davis; and brother-in-law, Firman (Melvon) Brown. He also survived by grandchildren, Anne (Mark) Fuller, Loren (Kalin) Briggs, Emmalee Briggs, Madeline Davis, Spencer Davis and Ben Evans; great-grandchildren, Lisa, Rob, Emma and Cody Fuller, and Carter, Jamison, Molly and Holden Briggs; and numerous nieces, nephews, extended family and friends.
Special thanks are extended to all of the doctors, nurses and caregivers in Dillon for their compassionate care of Carl.
A memorial service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Monday, May 7, at the Presbyterian Church in Dillon.
There will be community reception in Carl’s honor at the University of Montana-Western Arena at noon Monday.
Memorials can be made to the University of Montana-Western Foundation, Presbyterian church or charity of choice.