December 23, 1927 ~ December 6, 2020 (age 92)
Charles Ercil (C.E.) Davis, 92, of Stephenville died Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020, at Stephenville Hospital following a brief illness. Due to Covid-19 concerns, a private graveside service will be officiated by the Rev. Kory Koch of Stephenville’s Oakdale Methodist Church. A memorial service will be scheduled at a future date. A viewing, for those who desire, is scheduled from 1 to 5 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 10, at Stephenville Funeral Home.
Ercil was born at home on Dec. 23, 1927, in the sandy farmlands near Huckabay in Erath County. He was the third of four children of Bryan and Nola (Moody) Davis. A product of the Great Depression, his character was molded by hard work, hard times, and an overwhelming desire to succeed. He was raised in a loving family and developed an abiding faith which carried him through many hills and valleys of a long and productive life. Growing up, there was little time for play. He was a hard-worker from childhood and picking cotton, thrashing peanuts, and milking were but a few of the chores at which he excelled. His hands were seldom idle to the very end, but for enjoying sports on television.
He loved basketball and was a standout at Huckabay High School. It was there in 1942 that he first locked eyes with a beautiful green-eyed brunette, Beutonne Evatt, seated in the bleachers. They remained a couple for more than 75 years. Ercil and Beutonne graduated from Huckabay in 1945 and enrolled at Tarleton together that fall, where Ercil played basketball for one season before enlisting in the United States Navy. Becoming a WWII veteran made him eligible for the GI Bill to pursue his dream of an education. Before he departed for boot camp, he asked Beutonne to wait for him, and she did, writing him daily for two years. Those letters, kept for 75 years, were among the last things he read. He was stationed in California as a Navy seaman 1st class from 1946-48, and upon his return home, they were married on May 22, 1948 in Stephenville. At Beutonne’s death in 2018, they were three months shy of their 70th wedding anniversary.
At Texas A&M, Ercil received his Bachelor of Science degree in 1951 and had his first teaching job at Oakdale before the school closed. From there, he went to Star in Mills County where he coached basketball, football, taught agriculture and math, and drove a school bus from 1952-56. During those years he received his Masters degree in Education and the couple welcomed their daughter, Bonnie Charlene, in 1955. In 1956, Ercil had his first school superintendent job at Lingleville, where he served until 1959. During their years there the couple welcomed Claud Bryan (C.B.) to the family in 1958.
The Davis family moved to Gordon in 1959 where he served as school superintendent and his wife began her teaching career with their children now both in school. They spent many happy times there making lifelong friends and working on their ranch near Huckabay on weekends and at their parent’s farms. In 1968 the family moved to Valley Mills in Bosque County. There, he served as school superintendent and Mrs. Davis taught high school business. He retired in 1985 and his wife three years later. Together they enjoyed 29 happy years living in the farmhouse where Beutonne was raised and working as a team on their cattle and farm operation. Their years of retirement also brought the birth of their two grandchildren, who they lived to see graduate from Tarleton and to meet their respective spouses.
The couple had many friends and family in the Gordon, Valley Mills and Stephenville communities and they cherished them and their golden years together. In retirement, Ercil enjoyed serving on several volunteer boards as well as the recognition and accolades which came from former school districts and students. He valued the Liberty and Huckabay Cemeteries, where generations of the couple’s family rest. And he enjoyed his Huckabay roots; from the annual Homecoming held each June on the tabernacle grounds, to playing dominoes with friends at the Community Center, which had served as the Methodist church where he was baptized and worshipped with his family while growing up in the 1930s. During retirement, he enjoyed family reunions there, and playing dominoes with friends.
The couple moved to their home in Stephenville in 2014 and Ercil was a devoted caregiver for his wife. They remained independent with the help of their son and daughter-in-law, and dear friends and family. He kept a garden in Stephenville at age 91, enjoying fresh tomatoes and okra and sharing with friends. He spent his last year in a senior living facility making new friends and telephoning old ones and family he adored. Ercil Davis was a lifelong Methodist and was a member of congregations at Huckabay, Valley Mills, and Gordon, where he maintained his membership. He attended Oakdale Methodist Church during the final years of his life.
Ercil was preceded in death by his wife of 69 years, Beutonne, in 2018; his son, J.B. Davis, in 1951; his daughter, Bonnie Charlene Davis, in 2013; his parents, Bryan and Nola Davis in 1992; his brother and sister-in-law, Gilbert and Guyla Davis; and his sister and brother-in-law, Murray and Elwanda Bailey.
Left to cherish his memory are his son and daughter-in-law, Bryan and Julie Davis of Clifton; his grandson and wife, Evan and Casie Davis of Boerne; his granddaughter and fiance, Laine Davis and Jonathan Frederick of Waco. Other survivors include his brother and sister-in-law, Gerald and Mary Davis of Garland; beloved nieces, cousins, extended family and loving friends from a long and fruitful life.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be made to the Huckabay Community Center, c/o Jerry Rankin, 5587 CR 423, Stephenville, Texas 76401.