SunBird Personalities

Ron and Ethel Davis

Ron and Ethel Davis

Bob Neuman

Ron Davis, unique in many ways, has lived life to the fullest. For a start, he is a native of Arizona. His grandparents homesteaded at Elliot and Ellsworth in 1890.

He has traveled, worked in interesting places and has not one master’s degree, but three. He married a beautiful young lady named Ethel Victoria Nicholson who became an English teacher.

With World War II barely a month old, Ron was born January 15, 1942. His father was a journeyman carpenter who went where the work was. This would account for Ron’s attending 17 different schools in 12 years, which he states was very difficult. “I sometimes attended two schools in one year.”

“I met a lovely girl while a sophomore at Chandler High School. She would have nothing to do with me from 1958 to 1965.” Finally, she gave in, and they were married soon after. “She became the love of my life,” Their family eventually consisted of three boys and now 10 grandchildren and 18 great-grandkids … with another on the way. Unfortunately, two of his sons are deceased.

Work was varied and sometimes unusual. He once managed a gas station near Camelback Mountain where Barry Goldwater would stop, talk and buy gasoline. Ron recalled, “He never paid for it, but we gave him credit. Later, his wife would always stop and pay the bill.”

Another job kept him in Alaska for a few years. He would like to return for a visit and will drive. “It’s on my bucket list to visit the southeast side of Alaska,” he said. Other items on his list are taking long scenic drives, fishing, American history and being with family.

His master’s degrees are Educational Counseling from Phoenix University; Leadership, Northern Arizona University; and Vocational Education, Northern Arizona University.

Much of his work has been with prisoners. At present, he is licensed to give GED examinations to them and does so frequently at the Florence Prison.

In speaking of the prisoners, he comments that although some are hardened and dangerous and must be separately confined, the majority are in for making bad choices. He relates the man who fought off others trying to steal a claim in Alaska. He was in for murder. He is also counselor to 500 prisoners. “I found that easier than in the public schools,” he said. Ron has been counselor to junior high students in Coolidge schools. He has been a vocational teacher also. He has taught vocational math at the University of Northern Arizona.

He and Ethel came to SunBird in 2015. On June 10, 2017, Ron’s life changed forever. His beautiful angel passed away from a determined lung disease. “I refused to believe to the end that she would die, but the love of my life is gone. All we have now are memories.” His family is near and is good support. He intends to just keep going and keeping busy.

Ron Davis … one of the good guys.