Jack Burton “Ripper” Davis, 54, of Hermiston, a former Baker City resident, died Aug. 31, 2005, at his home.
There will be a celebration of his life later. His wish was to be cremated and to have his cremains placed in Crater Lake.
Jack was born on March 6, 1951, at Silsbee, Texas, to Virgil Victor and Ruth Magdalene Park Davis. He was raised at Honey Island, Texas. He loved hunting and fishing in the piney woods of east Texas and especially at the hunting club at Hardin County.
His parents owned and operated barbecue restaurants, which Jack and his brother, Vic, and sister, Dee, worked at for many years until their parents divorced. Jack was an excellent barbecue cook and his food was enjoyed by all.
Jack left home at the age of 18 and worked in many of the oil fields in Texas as a driller helper.
He moved to Empire, Colo., and worked at the Henderson Molybdenum Mine above Empire where he met many of his lifelong friends and got the nickname Ripper.
He moved many times between Colorado where his father lived and back to Texas where his mother lived. He drove truck for Denver Dry Goods and had many memorable stories about those deliveries.
All who knew Jack loved his detailed storytelling about his life and thrill-seeking adventures. When Jack lived at Empire, he got his faithful dog, Lucifer, who traveled all over with him.
He was very loving and devoted to his family and took great pleasure in teasing and playing practical jokes on his nephews, Clint Davis, Walter Drake and Curtis Drake and his niece, Indi Kay Moore.
In 1976, Jack was visiting a friend at Chandler, Ariz., where he met Patricia Wollman. Jack and Pat spent a memorable summer at Lake Powell, Utah, where they worked and enjoyed boating, swimming and cliff diving.
They then moved to Idaho Springs, Colo. When Jack learned that his grandfather, Curtis Ivy Davis was marrying his childhood sweetheart “Dutch,” Jack asked Pat to marry him. The four were married in a double-ring ceremony at Silsbee, Texas, in 1977.
Jack and C.I. celebrated many of their birthdays together. They were born 50 years apart on the same day in March.
Jack and Pat moved to Kountze, Texas, where Jack was working again in the oil fields. They moved to Weimer, Texas, then to Big Spring, Texas, where Pat was employed as a respiratory therapist.
In 1986, Pat encouraged Jack, who quit school in the eighth grade, to get his GED. He was very proud of this accomplishment.
He got his favorite guitar while they lived at Idaho Springs. Jack was an excellent songwriter with a rustic voice that never lost its Texas accent. He wrote about things he loved, places he’d been and also used his unique and wonderful imagination to write songs.
Jack and Pat moved to Mount Enterprise, Texas, where their son, Hank Curtis Davis, was born. The marriage ended in divorce in 1995.
Shortly thereafter, Jack became a Christian. He wrote and played more than 100 songs, including many Gospel songs. He spent many of the last years of his life telling others about the Lord.
Jack was most at peace outdoors away from the crowds and people. He was an accomplished marksman and fisherman.
He collected many guns and knives over the years and they were very precious to him. His hobbies included archery, blowguns, gardening, cribbage, backgammon, cooking, swimming and cliff jumping.
After their divorce, Pat and Hank moved to Baker City. Jack moved there within a year and worked as a truck driver in Baker City and later moved to Hermiston. He always remained close to his son, Hank.
He will be greatly missed by all who knew him and whose life he touched. His charm, wit, humor and songs and lyrics will long live on.
Survivors include his son, Hank Davis of Baker City; brothers, Vic Davis of Magnolia, Texas, and Bronson; a sister, Dee Drake of Silsbee, Texas; nephews, Clint Walter Drake and Curtis Drake, both of Silsbee, Texas; a niece, Indi Kay Moore, and her son, Douglas, both of Silsbee, Texas; his father, Virgil Davis, and stepmother, Doris, of Grand Junction, Colo.; and a stepsister, Pam, of Grand Junction, Colo.
He was preceded in death by his mother, Ruth Park Bylsma; his grandfather, Curtis Ivy Davis; his aunt, Edna Lindsey; his half-brother, Jerry Bowman, and his wife, Lorrie Bowman; his faithful dog, Lucifer; and his childhood friends.
Memorial contributions may be made to a charity of one’s choice. Burns Mortuary of Hermiston was in charge of arrangements.
Used with permission from: Baker City Herald, Baker City, Oregon, September 9, 2005
Transcribed by: Belva Ticknor