Don Christopher Davis passed away on January 20, 2017 in his home in Berlin, MA at the age of 61. He was born on May 19th, 1955 in Kansas City, Missouri, the son of Charles Edward Davis III and Marie K. Silvia who both predeceased him. After growing up in Kansas City, Don attended the New England Conservatory in Boston. In 1977, he received a Bachelor of Music in trombone performance. After graduation, he freelanced as a classical trombonist in New England, performing with many organizations including Boston Philharmonic, Portland Symphony (Maine), Opera Company of Boston, Springfield Symphony, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Boston Lyric Opera, Boston Ballet, Odyssey Opera, Boston Symphony, Handel and Haydn Society, and Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra. He also performed hundreds of concerts as a member of the Beacon Brass Quintet.
In 1983, Don studied electrical engineering at Sylvania Technical School in Waltham, MA and was subsequently hired by Cognex Corporation, where he worked as a QA software engineer for over 30 years. His perfectionism and attention to detail were a perfect fit for his work there. His uncanny ability to find bugs in the new software made him a valued employee at the company.
Don loved working with his hands and fixing things. He renovated both houses he and his wife, Evy shared. He had a quick wit and loved puns, which he shared with all. He loved music, comedy (from Monty Python to the Three Stooges), quality beer, puzzlers, Arthur Bryant’s BBQ, scotch and the occasional cigar. Known for his unbeatable homemade chili, BBQ ribs, and fruitcake, there was no shortage to his talents. In recent years, he picked up the bass guitar and enjoyed playing with local musicians at community events and contra dances.
After his first bout with cancer in 2008 Don adopted “carpe diem” as his motto for life. He took the family on a trip to Europe and enjoyed the many beers of Germany first-hand, as well as a road trip to Yellowstone National Park. He also performed in the Youth Ensemble of New England with the family on a concert tour to England, Scotland and Iceland, and later took a family trip to South America to see the Galapagos Islands and Machu Picchu. He also made annual trips to Kansas City for several very popular reunion concerts of his high school band, Blackwater Junction.
Five years after his initial diagnosis, doctors told him the cancer had returned and gave him a year to live. Reflecting on his past challenges with chemotherapy, Don instead chose Chinese medicine and an organic, vegan "cancer fighting" diet. He held back the cancer for three more symptom-free years until the last few months.
Don leaves behind his wife Evy Dueck, daughters Annette and Rebecca Davis of Berlin, his sisters and brother-in-law, Karen Lynne of Kingman, Arizona; Cheryl and John Lee of Smithville, Missouri; and Marian Davis of Grain Valley, Missouri; as well as several cousins, nieces and nephews. At Don's request, there will be no wake or funeral, but rather a party in the spring for his friends and family to celebrate his life.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Don’s memory may be made to 19 Carter, a community-gathering place, a non-profit where Don was a founding board member, active volunteer in the historic renovation work and a member of the Carter Street Band (online at 19Carter.org or checks may be mailed to 19 Carter Community Center, 48 Highland Street, Berlin, MA 01503).