Davis, Maurice "Bud"
Teacher and mentor to thousands of California’s young athletes, Maurice “Bud” Davis died in his home on Jan. 8, 2008, at the age of 81.
He was the fifth child of a sharecropping corn and pig farmer, born on July 5, 1926, in a wooden farmhouse in Castana, Iowa.
In 1935 Bud’s parents moved to San Francisco, a year ahead of the Okies described in “The Grapes of Wrath.” He said his family was either smarter or gave up more easily than the Okies.
Bud graduated from Washington High School in San Francisco, played first team in football, baseball and basketball. After high school Bud served in the U.S. Navy on a minesweeper in the China Sea. Bud attended San Francisco State University, played football and majored in education with a physical education concentration because he wanted to coach football.
Following school Bud and his first wife spent seven years on the road performing on a trampoline, hand and head balancing, unicycle and adagio act on stage with circuses and in fairs.
Two children were born on the road, so Bud and Olive went back to San Francisco where Bud worked for 28 years at Mission High School in San Francisco, teaching special education, math and mostly physical education. He coached wrestling, springboard diving and golf and, as head of the department and athletic director, created a program that included scuba diving, swimming, golf, tennis, team sports and springboard diving electives.
Bud taught scuba diving on the north coast of California for 18 years and remained close with many of his former students to the day he died. Bud married one of his scuba students and had two children.
Bud also owned, trained and raced harness race horses at Bay Meadows, Los Alamitos and Cloverdale, Canada; he rode a killer whale at Marine World; he dove in the roundabout at Steinhart Aquarium with a 300-pound female great white shark. Bud took scuba classes to the Yucatan Peninsula, the Caribbean, Hawaii and Baja California.
In 1985 Bud founded a scuba program for high school kids in Avalon on Catalina Island ” a one- or two-week residential, intensive course of study that included six hours daily in the ocean and three hours daily in the classroom. In addition he got his ocean-operator’s license and operated a parasail boat. He had great respect and love for the ocean.
In 1988 Bud moved the family to Squaw Valley ” where he worked for 19 years teaching kids to ski at the Squaw Valley Children’s Ski School, coached AYSO soccer, Little League, PUD girls’ softball, Buddy Werner skiing, volunteered in classrooms, drove a parasail boat at Sunnyside.
At 80 years of age, he got his limit of abalone at Sea Ranch, rode his bicycle from Bodega Bay, California, to Ocean City, Maryland, and taught kids to ski at Squaw Valley.
Bud had a profound effect on everyone who knew him. He was a brilliant mentor and a valued friend. We who knew him carry him with us in our hearts and minds every minute of the day.
Bud is survived by his sisters, Mildred Lanning and Irene Stamatis; his four children, Denise, Mark, Jessica Foster and Randy; and three grandchildren, Andrew, Walker and Blaine and wife, Nanci.
In honor of Bud’s dedication to youth and the creation of healthy athletic and recreational opportunities for young people, in lieu of flowers or gifts please make a donation in his name to The Boys and Girls Club of North Lake Tahoe, PO Box 1617, Kings Beach, CA 96143 or the North Tahoe Boosters Club, PO Box 1824, Tahoe City, CA 96145.
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