Homer T. Davis was born June 7, 1916, in Barkers Creek, North Carolina, to Nelson and Desire (Desi) Nelson. He was raised a country boy and knew how to feed a family from a garden, along with fishing and hunting. He also watched his father in the Carolina mountains work at a process that would become a “calling card” for him later in life.
In 1935 Homer left home at the age of 19 to join his brother Lee in the plateau country of Centennial Valley Montana. During the next five years he worked in the high mountain country carrying mail and supplies by horse and wagon to the sheep and cattle ranchers and their families. These families still remember Homer on those cold winter visits. Later he moved to Virginia City where he continued running supplies to remote ranches in the area.
In 1941 Homer entered the military where he was sent to Salt Lake City where recruits from the Intermountain West were assigned. He took his basic training at Fort Lewis, Washington, and then spent several months in the infantry until selected to train for overseas traffic control operations. He shipped out on the USS West Point, one of the biggest ships converted for military use.
Davis landed in Liverpool, England, and rode in “goods wagons” south through London to the British Coast. Homer remembers riding in the wagons which were similar to box cars with a few windows and benches. On the English Coast they loaded into transport ferries crossing the English Channel and then landed on the shores of Normandy.
Private First Class Davis was assigned to the military police and began his assignment on the Red Ball Highway, which was a convoy system created by the U.S. Army for transporting supplies. The name “Red Ball” referred to a top priority railway freight transport that covered a 400-mile road that looped from seaports in France to the front lines in Germany.
Throughout the duration of the war, Homer was involved with transport operations. When the operations moved, so did Homer — through Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg and Germany. Davis was in Germany at the close of the war and he was shipped back to the United States with the other troops. He was discharged with a Good Conduct Medal and two Bronze Stars for European-Middle Eastern Campaigns.
After a brief visit in North Carolina, Homer moved with his wife and new son to Jordan, Montana. He worked a ranch with his brother for a few years but with reduced crop production, Homer moved with his family, which now included a daughter, to Troy. In Troy he was able to connect with other families that had left eastern Montana for a better life.
Homer worked at several jobs and during that time purchased the Halfway House on Bull Lake Road. Later he sold the bar and was selected to manage the Troy VFW Club.
His next position was in Whitefish, to manage the VFW Club. In the late 1960s, he retired from there to move back to the Bull Lake area to be close to family and the town he loved. Homer loved the outdoors and spent days camping, fishing and hunting. He had his own campground on Pete Creek that he maintained and would take friends and family there every year. Most times you would hear him sing one of his old favorite songs with an unwavering voice he still had till he was 100.
But, perhaps, what Homer T. is most known for is his “recipe.” Homer learned the process for making “white lightning” at a young age and was able to put that to use for many years making his famous “brew” one batch at a time. He never sold it, but few in the area have not known the “fire” of his corn, rye or wheat “good ole mountain dew.”
Homer was a generous man and contributed to many groups including the VFW Club veterans, Wounded Warriors and local events. If someone needed something, he would give what he could and never ask in return.
All that can be said: Homer loved Troy but perhaps not as much as Troy loved Homer!
Homer was preceded in death by his parents and several brothers and sisters. He is survived by daughter, Sandra (Doug) Dasher, of New Mexico; sons Homer,Jr. (Maggie) of Livingston; Tony (Edamae) Davis, of Post Falls, Idaho; Bruce (Natalie) Davis, of eastern Montana; grandchildren Josh Davis, Melissa Gloria, Keshia Holt, April and Mindy Dixon and 13 great-grandchildren — as well as nephew and good friend, Billy Joe Davis, of Troy.
There are far too many other family and friends to list.
Submitted by Janine Price.