Updated: September 19, 2013 at 7:03 am
When Danny Mike Davis, 54, is laid to rest Thursday in Amarillo, Texas, his son will officiate at the funeral.
Davis, whom everyone called Mike, perished Sept. 12 in the ravaging Fountain Creek in Colorado Springs. He sometimes lived in the homeless camps along the creek and apparently visited even after being provided with a small subsidized apartment.
No one seems to know what he was doing out there in the lashing storm the night before his body was found. But those who mourn him say he was a godly man who came to Colorado to get a start in computer technology, but who in the end apparently couldn't overcome the emotional pain in his life.
"He was a great man who loved God and I want to honor him and the impact he made on me," said his son, the Rev. Michael Davis.
Davis was among four people who have died locally in floodwaters in recent weeks.
Danny Mike Davis was born Nov. 8, 1958, in Amarillo, the second son of the late Henry Daniel Davis, who had been in the frozen fish industry, and Edith Davis, a bookkeeper.
He was very industrious, said his mother. He delivered newspapers as a kid, and later worked in a shoe store, cooked in a seafood restaurant, and had his own construction business for a while. He was an expert carpenter and built beautiful bookcases, and remodeled his mother's sunroom and a church.
Some of the best years were the 19 he was married to Vicki Johnston.
"The divorce really hurt," Edith Davis said.
Johnston said that the grief of losing his fifth child, Jesse, at 10-days old to a rare condition seemed to change him.
"He just couldn't overcome the pain and that was really what triggered his addiction," Johnston said. "But he was a truly wonderful father and husband when he was clean."
His surviving children are Keidonya Andrus and Michael Davis of Midlothian,Texas; Sheila Lankford of Waxahatchie, Texas; Jason Davis of Dallas; and Kimberly and Corey Davis of Amarillo. He had two sisters, Guruparwaz Khalsa of Raytown, Mo., and Debra Blalock of Amarillo; and a brother, Mark Davis of Midland, Texas.
He had ups and downs over the years, sometimes having well-paying jobs, at other times struggling.
He loved fishing and exploring, and his move to Colorado in 2006 was a dream come true.
"He used to send me all these gorgeous photos of Colorado and tell me how happy he was to live there, that God's majesty was all over the state," his mother said. "He was so proud of making that change in his life."
But depression and addiction were constant hardships. He spent much time by Fountain Creek and at the Marian House Soup Kitchen, which he listed as his address.
He sought help from the Springs Rescue Mission about three years ago, said Sarah Stacy, director of the mission's resource advocate program. About a year and a half ago, he received a housing voucher through AspenPointe.
"Danny kept such a positive attitude even though he was homeless, living outside, facing a disability," Stacy said. "He was always positive." She saw him about three months ago when he visited the nonprofit to get food.
He appeared to be happy and doing well. "We had worked very hard to get him housed and get him all outfitted in this housing," Stacy said. "If he lost his housing, he probably wouldn't have told us."
His mother said, "Being separated from his children, losing Jesse, it caused him terrible depression.
"But he was able to make amends with his children and family in the last couple of years, reaching out and trying to reconnect. He loved everyone deeply."
And through it all he had a firm religious belief.
"He talked to people about Jesus, and led many people to the Lord," Edith Davis said.
The memorial service will be at 10 a.m. Thursday at Memorial Park Funeral Home and Cemetery in Amarillo. He will be buried in a plot next to his father, who died in 2004.
Gazette reporter Jakob Rodgers contributed to this story.