Larry S. Davidson
October 18, 1938 ~ February 12, 2022
Larry Davidson was born in North Delta at his grandparents’ home on October 18, 1938 and passed away in that same home on February 12, 2022. He was 83 years old. Born Larry Sanford Greer, his father, Oliver Greer, passed away when Larry was very young leaving his mother, Adeline (Shilling) Greer a widow. Larry and his sister, Joan, spent most of their childhood living with Nelson and Dora Shilling, grandparents, as their mother took a war time job in Oregon. Larry lived an idyllic childhood on the Shilling Farm and those memories sustained him all his life. After the war, his mother returned to Delta, met and married Gerald Davidson who formally adopted Larry and Joan. Gerald became the only father Larry ever knew.
Larry attended school in Delta and graduated in 1957 from Delta High School. He attended Colorado State University and graduated with a Bachelors Degree in English and Spanish and Teaching Certification. He began a career teaching English and Spanish at Wellington Junior High in Wellington, Colorado. In 1959, while still an undergraduate, he married Barbara Spence and they had two children, Michael and Beryle. In 1964, Larry and Barbara traveled to Greenville, Mississippi during the Civil Rights period of unrest. While Barbara helped with civil rights efforts and opening a Head Start program, Larry built the playground equipment for the school. While there, the urgent needs of an 18 month old boy created the incentive for his mother to ask Larry and Barbara to formally adopt the child. They did so and Tommy Davidson returned with them to Colorado as part of the family.
Some years later, Larry and Barbara divorced. Larry abandoned his teaching job, learned how to weld and took on a variety of jobs that utilized that skill and others. He opened the first coffee house in Ft. Collins, the Jade Urn. This was a place for young people to gather, talk, solve the world’s problems and listen to folk music. Larry presented many folk performers there including Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, Utah Phillips and Rosalie Sorrels. Unfortunately a fire next door caused the Jade Urn to close.
Larry married Gayle Johnson in Ft. Collins, June 14, 1980. Larry began using his welding skills to build custom barbecues and wood burning stoves developing more creativity. He and Gayle initiated Jade Urn Productions reviving the music at the coffee house by producing monthly concerts at Ft. Collins’ Lincoln Center. They were company members of Open Stage Theatre focused on set design for stage productions. They travelled extensively in Mexico.
In 1987, Larry had an opportunity to work with his father, Gerald, who was a home and remodeling contractor in Delta. After remodeling and modernizing the Shilling home, Gerald and Adeline invited Larry and Gayle to move and live there. Larry worked with his father for several years until Gerald retired. Through the Delta Library, Larry began teaching English as a Second Language classes where his fluency in Spanish helped make the class popular and successful. He began teaching Adult Basic Education classes helping many acquire their GED certificates or to pass entrance exam requirements for further education. He loved teaching especially to those motivated to achieve. He continued welding creating many fanciful pieces by recycling any sort of cast off metal. The City of Delta purchased four of his works, the dinosaurs in front of City Market, the Sunflower by the Farmers’ Market parking area, a dragonfly that is perched on the gazebo at Heddles Rec Center and the Pow Wow Council Tree, a replication of the Dan Dueter design. Grand Junction purchased a very large pteranadon dinosaur that resided for a time at the Visitor’s Center. His flying saucer and alien placed near Highway 50 has garnered statewide attention. Larry never hesitated to offer his help to individuals and organizations. He served as a mentor for Partners in Delta. He devoted a great deal of time to the Delta Senior Citizens serving as president of the board for several years. He said his greatest achievement for the seniors was the purchase of padded chairs for the dining hall. He also initiated the Super Seniors Lunch held annually in March to celebrate seniors over 90 years old.
Larry is survived by his wife, Gayle Davidson residing at the family home in Delta, CO: his sister Joan and niece, Erin, of Fremont, CA; his daughter, Beryle and son-in-law Tov Alexis, grandson Yanni and granddaughters Kai and Keyana Alexis of Silver Spring, Maryland; his son, Tommy of Sherman Oaks, CA and grandsons Julanie and Isaiah and granddaughters Jersey, Jillian and Gianna.
He was preceded in death by his son Michael and his parents.
A memorial service will be held at the Shilling/Davidson farm in May where friends and family will celebrate his life
Arrangements are under the care and direction of Taylor Funeral Service and Crematory.
View the internet obituary and sign the online guest registry at taylorfuneralservice.com