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Ernest Davenport
November 17, 1923 – March 15, 2017

Ernest Elwood Davenport, a loving father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and a life-long educator passed away peacefully on Wednesday morning, March 15th, 2017, at the age of 93. The youngest of 10 children, he was also the last member of his family to pass away.

"Ernie” was born in Myrtle Point, Oregon, on November 17th, 1923 to Albert Roy Davenport and Amy Ida Goble. He grew up on the family farm on Catching Creek Road, during the Great Depression, where they raised dairy cows and where Ernie learned the value of hard work, self-sufficiency, and a reverence for family life. As the baby of the family, he watched with sadness as his older siblings moved away to raise their own families but savored their return for family get-togethers.

A small stand of myrtle trees on the family farm was used for many reunions and picnics. “The Grove,” as it became known, has continued to be and still is a gathering area for the Davenport family, especially for July Fourth celebrations and reunions.

He deeply loved his family life and passed along the many values he learned not only to his own family but later on to his students. Ernie developed an early appreciation for education and went on to attend college.

His college years, first at Linfield and then at Oregon State, were interrupted by the outbreak of World War II. Ernie, feeling the call of duty, voluntarily enlisted in March 1942 and was called up to active duty in November that year. Despite a fear of flying, he enlisted as a cadet in the Army Air Corps where he tested out for a pilot training. After basic training, he graduated from advanced flying training and was promoted to the rank of 2nd Lieutenant, and was charged with training bombardier cadets in an AT-11 at San Angelo, Texas. He requested a transfer to overseas duty and was sent first to Nebraska and then to Oklahoma as the co-pilot of a B-17 “Flying Fortress.” He was then sent to Kansas in preparation to deploy but the decision to transfer his unit to England was cancelled and he was sent to Florida to train as a first pilot and to move to a B-29, which was being used in the South Pacific but the war ended before he could be deployed.

After the war, he returned to college and graduated in 1948 from Linfield where he also played football, which he affectionately called his “true mistress.” Ernie began his career as a teacher and coach for football and basketball at Nestucca High School, where he taught for eight years and developed life-long friendships with some of his students whom he encouraged to go on to higher education. While at Nestucca, he and his wife, Linnea (Sword), welcomed two of their three children, Eric and then Karla.

After Nestucca, Ernie later taught at Cottage Grove and then soon moved to Sheridan, where he was a teacher, principal, and head football coach. A hard worker, and wanting to pass along good work ethics to his children, he bought a 75-acre ranch and raised sheep while working at Sheridan high school. During his time there, his youngest child, Kristin, was born and the family was very active in the community, especially participating in the annual Phil Sheridan Days, the rodeo, and, of course, football.

Ernie decided to move fully into school administration and took a position in The Dalles and later at McNary High School in Salem. While a full-time administrator, he ran a 200-acre farm in Silverton.

Ernie retired from education and went into real estate but after a few years returned to school administration, taking a superintendent’s job in Burnt River for a few years. While this was one of his shorter stints, he would talk fondly of this position for the rest of his life. It was a small rural school in a large district—about 75 children in K–12 but covering some 1,200 square miles.  On weekends he loved helping on the district’s many large cattle ranches.

He returned to the Willamette Valley to “retire,” which meant he returned to his real estate career where he worked until he turned 80.  An avid golfer, he spent his later years visiting his three children and his grandchildren, attending football games at Linfield, and spending time with his friends.

He was proceeded in death by his second wife, Lois Schutte and then by his first wife, Linnea. He is survived by his son, Eric of Mollala, daughters Karla (Mark Anderson) of Sublimity and Kristin (Bryan Lanham) of Inman, SC. He is also survived by his grandchildren: Emily (Karl Potts) and Will Davenport; Bernard Roscoe, Kate and Jill Anderson; Allison (Blake Shawver), Taylor, and Bethany Lanham; and his great-grand children Gabe, Garrett, and Greyson Shawver.

A military funeral service will be held at Willamette National Cemetery, where he will be interred, on Friday April 7th at 9:30 a.m. for family and friends. A memorial service for the family will later be held in Myrtle Point on July Fourth.


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