Marysville's Moses Davis turns 100

Moses Davis celebrates his 100th Birthday on Jan. 22. - Photo courtesy of Don Davis.
Moses Davis celebrates his 100th Birthday on Jan. 22.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of Don Davis.

MARYSVILLE — Moses "Mose" Davis will reach a landmark on Jan. 22, and his family hopes all his friends will help him celebrate it.

Mose was born in Paintsville, Ky., on Jan. 22, 1911, and 100 years later to the day, the Davis family home will serve as the site for his centennial birthday, from 1-4 p.m.

Mose's sons, Don and Jim Davis, recalled how their dad's road to Marysville began when he enlisted in the Navy in 1930 at the age of 19. Mose Davis' 21 years in the fleet included 19 years at sea, with tours of duty on the USS Texas, USS Piedmont and USS Augusta.

"He was on board the Augusta for the Potsdam conference," Don Davis said. "He tailored President Truman's coat."

While Mose remains reluctant to discuss his experiences in the service, which extended across both World War II and the Korean War, Jim Davis recalled his dad talking about how his fleet baseball team played at an orphanage in San Pedro in the early 1930s, where one of the orphans was a young Ted Williams.

"Dad also played baseball against Chuck Connors, who was 'The Rifleman' on TV," Don Davis said, before laughing, "Dad said he wasn't very good."

Mose's time in the service was also how he met his future wife Emma, an Everett native.

"Before the war, he and a few of the guys went out on the town to pick up some girls, and one of them happened to be Mom," Jim Davis said. "He shipped out, but they kept in contact. She actually tracked him down when he was in New York City, and they got married there."

"Mom always said she picked up Dad in a back alley in Brooklyn," Don Davis laughed.

Mose and Emma were married for 65 years, until her passing in 2006. When Mose retired from the Navy in 1952, they settled down in the same house in Marysville where he's lived ever since.

"He has two acres of lawn that he still mows himself," Don Davis said.

"He loves gardening," Jim Davis said. "He loves hard work. He's very skilled with his hands. He still takes care of that house and does his own laundry."

After retiring from the service, Mose Davis kept active in the civilian working world, first by doing landscaping, then as an employee at a feed store on Third Street, and finally at the Washington State Reformatory in Monroe, from which he retired at the age of 65.

In addition to his two sons, Mose has three grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. When Emma was still alive, they explored the rest of the Western states in their travel trailer, and he's stayed busy by carving wooden footstools that he's made from scratch out of whole trees. These skills served him well when he bought his home, sight unseen, and found himself faced with the task of replacing its rotting foundation.

"He didn't have any power tools," Don Davis said. "He tore everything down by hand, and saved the nails so that he could reuse them."

Don laughed as he acknowledged that his father's diet of fried foods and dairy products would probably make a doctor blanche, but he and Jim agreed that their dad has remained fitter than many men who are decades younger.

"He's proud to be 100 years old," Jim Davis said. "He still wants to be here. Every once in a while, he'll meet some old guy who will tell him, 'Just wait until you get to be my age,' and it'll turn out he's only in his late 70s or early 80s," he laughed.

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