Howard W. Davis

Howard W. Davis

McFarland- Howard Davis’ world changed dramatically on July 27. 1963 when without too much thought, he ran down the Larson Beach pier and dove in to play with his kids. Hours later, when he arrived at the hospital in the back of the police chief’s station wagon (which was as close to an ambulance as McFarland had at the time), the doctors didn’t think he would survive. When he made it through that first week as a quadriplegic the doctors predicted he might live six months.

Howard refused to be controlled or defined by doctors’ predictions or the limitations of his damaged body. He raced through the next 49 years on his own terms, raising six kids with Ann, building a successful career as an electrical engineer, and by example teaching those around him how to live with grace and enjoy life at top speed.

But even Howard grew tired and God called him to end the race. Surrounded by his family he left his broken mortal body on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 and we imagine he gleefully ran to meet Ann, Trudy and Dana who were waiting for him at heaven’s gate.

Howard was born Sept. 1, 1931 one of four children and the only surviving son of Frank and Fern (Stevens) Davis. Howard joined the army and served his country in the Korean War. Following this he took advantage of the GI Bill and graduated from college with a degree in electrical engineering.

He married Ann Thompson on February 7, 1953. They raised six children. After college Howard was hired by Flads Architects and Engineers and worked there until his accident in 1963. Six years later he returned to work with Flads (later known as Affiliated Engineers) finally retiring in 2008. However, it was Howard, so retirement only meant that the jobs came to him at home rather than him going to them in the office. Then he found his racecar and his real retirement gained speed as he spent the next few years playing cars with Rick and forming D&I Motorsports (or DIRT) to win trophies and wear out tires.

Howard is survived by daughters, Terri (Tom) Bouffiou and Toni (Bryan) Stolarik, both of McFarland; sons, Brian (Joed) Davis of Lyle, Minnesota and Blaine (Ginnie Ashmore) Davis of LaCrosse; daughter-in-law, Laura Davis of Ixonia; his sister, Ruth Mary Olson of Edgerton; 16 grandchildren; and 7 great grandkids. He was preceded in death by his infant brother Conrad; wife, Ann; daughter, Trudy Szatkowski; son, Dana Davis; grandson, Paul Szatkowski; and sisters, Joyce Hunt and Pat Bilotti Nelson.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 1:00 PM on Wednesday, April 25, 2012 at Christ the King Catholic Church, 5306 Main Street, McFarland, with Fr. D. Stephen Smith officiating. Burial, with Military honors, will follow in Roselawn Memorial Park. Visitation will be held from 4:00 PM until 7:00 PM on Tuesday, April 24, 2012 at Cress Funeral Home in McFarland, and from 12 noon until the time of Mass on Wednesday at church.

No story of Howard’s life would be complete without a shout out of thanks to his “Angels,” to all his many loyal card and baseball-game-buddies, to the staff and all his friends at Skaalen Home in Stoughton, and especially to Sara, his “daughter” who cared for him best of all.