David Davis

David Warren "Chief" Davis

Sunday, June 23rd, 1957 - Thursday, September 17th, 2020
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David Warren "Chief' Davis, 63, of Ironwood, MI entered eternal life Thursday, September 17, 2020.

He was born June 23, 1957, at the U.S. Naval Hospital in San Diego, California, son of James A Sr. and Mildred (Cline) Davis.

Chief attended elementary school in San Diego, California, and then moved to Ironwood, Michigan with his parents and brother where he attended Ironwood Area Schools. He attended Luther L. Wright high school where he played football and graduated in 1975. He furthered his education at the University of Wisconsin Superior, where he had a successful football career with the UWS Yellowjackets. He moved on to complete his Bachelor's degree at Central Michigan University where he also played football for the Central Michigan Chippewas. He obtained a Master's Degree later on while teaching in Ironwood.

Chief began his teaching career as a substitute teacher in 1983 at Luther L. Wright high school. He eventually started his full-time physical education teaching career in 1984. At this time, he also started coaching the Ironwood Red Devils as an assistant coach in both football and boys and girls track, eventually becoming head coach in both. He was able to coach his daughter, Jenna, and his son, Craig, during their track careers at Luther L. Wright. He retired in January 2008 with multiple winning seasons, U.P. track titles and football playoff wins.

In addition to his teaching and coaching, Chief also owned and operated Chieftan Kennels in Ironwood, Michigan which he started in 1983. It started with 3 kennels and expanded into 24 kennels in its 35+ years of operation. During his summers off from teaching, he devoted his time to training not only locally owned dogs but also many out of state dogs. He did boarding and obedience training and he found much success with retriever hunt testing. He started field trialing retrievers in the early 90s, sending several of his own dogs down south for winter training until he retired from teaching and took on a full-time dog training role. He spent 11 winters in Texas with his wife training and field trialing, retiring from that in 2018. He left the field trial circuit having accumulated hundreds of ribbons and multiple field trial champions. He continued operations training retrievers and pointers up until his passing.

Chief was an avid upland game hunter, taking many trips to Canada and South Dakota with his hunting buddies. He enjoyed fishing and spending time at his cottage in McGregor, MN on Big Sandy Lake. He was an active member of many retriever field trialing clubs across the upper Midwest, attending Master Nationals. He was also a contributor to Ducks Unlimited and Ruffed Grouse Society. His interests also included trapping which he enjoyed doing with his oldest son, Craig.

Athletics has always played a big part in Chief's life. He enjoyed weight training and powerlifting, and he incorporated that into his own sports programs as a coach. He was involved with the local Polar Bear Hockey Club where his son, Craig, played for many years. He always enjoyed watching his college football on Saturdays and NFL football on Sundays. He will always be remembered for his passion and dedication out on the field. Many of his former players still call him coach and still hold the utmost respect for him to this day.

Chief will be greatly missed and his passing will leave a giant hole in our world. His family and anyone who knew him will always remember his loud, infectious laugh and silly sense of humor. He was a man of honor and truth. He was definitely one of a kind and one of the best. From teaching/coaching to dog training, he had a huge impact on so many lives. We are all better people for having known him and are eternally thankful for the time we shared with this amazing man. He will never be forgotten and the spirit of who he was will always live within the people who loved him.

He was preceded in death by his parents, James A. Sr.and Mildred V. Davis.

Chief is survived by his wife of 39 years, Sandy; children, Jenna (Mark) Maccani, Bessemer, Michigan Craig Davis, Ironwood, Michigan and Brad Davis, San Diego, California; grandchildren, Emma and Zoey Thompson.; brother, James (Debbie) Davis Jr.; mother-in-law, Millie (Ralph) Kloes; brother-in-law, Dave (Deb) Double; sister-in-law, Diane (Todd) Haeger; nephews, Jason, Josh, Derrick, Dustin, Dylan; niece, Kassy; as well as aunts, uncles, cousins, and many, many special friends. Also, a special mention for his three black lab companions affectionately known as Larry, Moe and Curly but better known as Ace, Ply, and Trapper. They never missed a weekend at the cottage with Chief and always enjoyed their morning pop tart time with him.

At Chief's request, there will be no memorial service. His family will take him to his favorite place, his cottage in McGregor, MN, and lay him to rest alongside his parents on Big Sandy Lake.

The family has chosen McKevitt-Patrick Funeral Home of Ironwood to honor Chief’s legacy of life You can leave a condolence or a tribute at mckevittpatrickfuneralhome.com.
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Sharon M. Laabs

Posted at 10:51am
So very, very sorry and shocked to hear of Chief's passing. He was so full of life and would always holler out to us no matter where we saw him. He was a good friend and super man.

He taught and coached our sons and supported them in and out of school. He and Holster were two of the best coaches that Ironwood has ever had and we credit them for the success Bucky and Darin had in sports. The life-skills they learned from those men carried them through to success in their family-life and careers. Chief nominated both of them for induction into the Ironwood Sports Hall of Fame and they were both selected, in part, because of Chief's enthusiastic support.

Outside of sports the three of them had memorable duck/goose hunting trips they laughed and teased each other about for years. Chief influenced them into trading their beagles in for labs. Darin's black lab, Jake, was from Chieftan Kennels, and both have lab hunting dogs now.

We were proud to have known Dave "Chief" Davis and call him "friend". He was a very special person and we will never forget him. Our thoughts are with you all at this sad time and we share your sorrow.

With very sincere sympathy,

Tom and Sharon Laabs

Sue Pertile

Posted at 02:56pm
Our deepest sympathies for your loss! He will be missed! Our kids enjoyed him as one of their teachers! Cherish the memories!

Jerry W Edde

Posted at 04:52pm
I was shocked and saddened by the news of Dave ‘Chief’ Davis death. I first met Dave during the formation of the Superior Chapter of the Ruffed Grouse Society. He was a leader and inspiration in this organization, and as I am sure, every group he ever joined. Dave’s training contributed to a dog’s lifetime of happy experiences for me and my dog, Bessie in the North Dakota pheasant fields. He was funny, he was serious, he was caring, he was just the kind of guy you want to meet in life. If you ever saw him break out that big grin and warm greeting you would think to yourself, “I would like to be like that guy.” He will be missed. —-Jerry Edde

Scott Lund

Posted at 05:25pm
Chief was a good friend throughout high school and college. He and Tim Kennedy would drive from Central to Ferris, where I attended. Chief would always trap along the way. We had a lot of good times. We recently reconnected and I’m so glad we did. He was in my wedding and I can remember the good time had had! Scott Lund

Mike Adank Posted at 08:33pm

Dave was a straight shooter with big smile and infectious laughter. My heart goes out to the family. He taught me so many things about dog training. He will be sadly missed.

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