James (Papa Glass) Harley Davidson, 88, passed away peacefully on Sunday, November 17, 2013 at MacKenzie Place Memory Care in Colorado Springs, where he had been in residence for nearly 4 years. |
Born April 27, 1925 in Sulphur Springs, Arkansas to Crodus Leigh and Dora (Todd) Davidson. Jim was raised in and round Bentonville, Arkansas, and later Stigler, Oklahoma. His family moved to Colorado Springs around 1940, where Jim graduated from Main High School (now Palmer) in 1943. Upon finishing high school, Jim enlisted in the U.S. Merchant Marines, in order to serve his country in time of war. His duties were to be part of a ship's crew, delivering war munitions, food, clothing and needed essentials to our fighting forces throughout the theater of World War II. As a result, he was able to see many foreign lands and ways of life while realizing how good things were in the United States!
After returning home from the war in 1945 or 1946, Jim met and married the love of his life, Bertha M. (Nicholson) Davidson and remained married until "Bert's" death in December 2009.
Jim had started his lifetime career, working at Wright Glass Co. in Colorado Springs. When a union strike locked Jim and his fellow workers out of Wright Glass in 1949, he and good friend, Joe Johnny, started a small glass business (J&J Glass) in a one stall garage with a dirt floor in Colorado Springs. The pair worked hard at trying to make a living on their own, but soon Joe Johnnie felt the need to return to his old job at Wright Glass Co. In 1950, Jim needed permanent employment, so he started a new business, City Glass Co., that he owned and operated until 2010.
Needing operating capital in the early 1950s, Jim took on a partner in Leonard Deatherage, whom was later bought out by Jim and started his own business, El Paso Glass, in Colorado Springs. Jim's greatest joy in life (after his young family) was owning and operating his own business in the glass and glazing industry that he loved so much! He was proud of having 3 locations and at one point, more than 65 employees. He loved his employees like family and although he could get mad with them, he forgave and forgot almost immediately afterward. He tried hard to make sure all his people were paid well and especially liked helping those in need. For 60 years, Jim invested money back into his business, while taking very little for himself, going without a personal paycheck from time to time, to ensure the business had what it needed. Jim never got "rich" in a financial sense and remained a man of very modest means throughout his lifetime.
Jim was a tireless workaholic, but always made time for his family. Money was very tight, but Jim always made sure his family had all the necessary things, before investing his earnings back into his business. He was a wonderful husband and father for his children, making life fun and entertaining for all the neighborhood kids as well! Jim and his wife, "Bert," were popular with all the neighborhood kids, most of whom spent a lot of time playing football, baseball and other "kid's" games at Jim's house on Poinsetta Drive. In the mid-1950s Jim coached an "Old Timer's Baseball Team" and would take all of his players for ice cream or treats after games, by loading everyone in the back of his 1955 Ford Pickup...something loved by the kids!
Jim was a member of the Blue Mason Lodge in Colorado Springs. Jim's hobbies also included deer and elk hunting in his younger years and fishing throughout his life. He and Bert owned a cabin at Mt. Massive Lakes in Leadville, Colorado in the 1970s and 1980s, where fishing became very much a family pastime. Many good times were shared at the cabin, including snowmobiling up Weston Pass and "racing" on the frozen lakes.
Jim was also a life-long fan of motorsports, starting with the ownership of a pair of Jalopy-type stock cars in the early 1950s, one of which was driven on occasion by local racing great, Ted Foltz. Jim attended the Daytona 500 a number of times, along with Charlotte Motor Speedway, Phoenix International Raceway, Riverside, California Road Course, Michigan International Speedway, Pikes Peak International Raceway and most local tracks in Colorado. Attending the Pikes Peak Hill Climb every year led to Jim eventually sponsoring son Jim's stock car on the Peak for five years and later, the asphalt oval stock car at Colorado Springs International Speedway for 2 years. Jim also sponsored as many as local racers as possible with windshields for their race cars, or tire and gas money. He was known by most of the local racers and mechanics in town.
Jim was an avid Broncos fan and bowled on his own bowling teams for nearly 40 years, making many friends in bowling, but came to love the game of golf most of all! After retiring, Jim spent nearly all his time hacking at golf balls, mainly at the Colorado Springs Country Club and any other course he could find. He especially enjoyed golfing with his sons-in-law and other close friends, including his fellow "Bandidos." He was well known for his "mobile bar golf cart," which he was able to drive from his house to the Country Club's golf course.
Jim also was a lover of animals and always had a loyal dog and a few cats around the house. His most loved dog "Bear" a golden retriever, was once lost for nearly a month while Jim drove and walked every neighborhood possible in search of his buddy, finally finding him on a school playground in the Templeton Gap and Academy area-a happy reunion indeed!
Shortly after Jim's beloved wife Bert passed away in December of 2009, Jim suffered a stroke, which started his battle with dementia. He took up residence in MacKenzie Place where he was wonderfully loved and cared for by the great staff and the wonderful folks from Gentiva Hospice until his passing.
Jim was preceded in death by his parents; his sister, June Walker; all his aunts and uncles; and his wife, Bertha M. Davidson.
He is survived by his four children: Jim and Janet Davidson, Colorado Springs; Debbie and Vic Stauffer of Loveland, Colorado; Patti and Rick Giardina of Centennial, Colorado; and Lori and Mike Eschler, also of Colorado Springs; as well as 7 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his sister-in-law, Dorothy (Nicholson) and Clyde Keffer and family of Colorado Springs.
Jim will be sorely missed and remembered for his honesty, integrity and "can do" attitude. "No" and "can't" were words unknown by Jim, who practiced these beliefs throughout his lifetime!
Funeral Services will be held at Springs Community Church, 7290 Lexington Drive, Colorado Springs, CO 80918 on Saturday, November 23 at 10:30 a.m. Private entombment will be held in the Gate of Heaven at the Shrine. (719-573-4166).
Online condolences: ShrineofRemembrance.com
Published in The Gazette on Nov. 20, 2013