1914 - 2001



Harry was born on June 2, 1914 in New York City to Ella and Abe Davis.  Harry had a brother, Dave, and a sister, Lillian.  Abe worked for the Long Island Railroad and Ella worked for the Cushmans Bakery.  Ella and Abe were separated when Harry was 13.  Times were tough in those years and Harry had to quit high school early to contribute to the family’s finances.  His first job was as a printing pressman.  Harry was good at his job and was rapidly promoted to foreman.  Pay was good and life was as good as it could be during a time when the country was going through the great depression.   In the late 1930’s Harry got the urge to fly.  He took flying lessons at the now defunct Flushing Airport.  His instructor was Speed Hanslic.  Harry’s claim to fame as a pilot was that he piloted first airplane to land at LaGuardia Field on Long Island. While out flying one day, Harry looked down and saw the yet finished airport below him. With a glint in his eye he pulled the throttle to idle and landed.  If caught he had his “engine failure” story ready.  He eventually bought his own aircraft--actually he traded his car for the Aeronca C-2.  He also flew the Fairchild F-19, Piper cub, Taylor, and Stearman.  It was during this time that he met his bride-to-be, Frieda (Fritzi) Davis. Fritzi was a flying companion until the day that Harry almost crashed with her aboard.  They were on an outing with friends when one of the other airplanes developed mechanical problems. Harry, with Fritzi on board, volunteered to take the heavy, broken part to be repaired.  Unfortunately there was either not enough runway (grass strip) or the airplane was too heavy.  After several attempts at lift off the airplane sucked some grass into the intake and stalled.  Not a good thing!!  That was Fritzi’s last flying trip with Harry.  On June 3, 1938, Harry and Fritzi were married.  Contrary to popular belief they were actually married before I was born.  Harry said many times that he was so proud of his son, he and Fritzi got married.  In 1942 I was born, and Harry switched jobs from Pressroom Foreman to Firefighter in New York City.  Harry and Fritzi’s first house was located at 30-30 47th Street, Astoria, NY.  In 1944 Harry and Fritzi had their second and last child, Lynn.  Harry was not in the military during WW II.  In 1940, at the ripe old age of 26, he volunteered to fly for the Army Air Corps, but was rejected because of his age.  He was offered a position as a glider pilot, but was smart enough to know those aircraft only made one way trips.  In 1945 they moved to 87-60 117th Street, Richmond Hill, NY.  Harry spent much of his energy working and improving this house.  In 1950 they moved again, this time to 75-11 184th Street, Flushing, NY.   They would live here for over 20 years.  Harry was involved as a Boy Scout Leader and merit badge counselor.  He had as much to do with me becoming an Eagle Scout.   Harry was rapidly promoted in the New York City Fire Department to Captain.  He spent almost 10 years as Lieutenant and Captain of the prestigious Rescue 4 Company in Queens, NY.  He retired from the Division of Training in 1967 after 25 years of service.  He then applied for and was accepted for a position with the New York City Board of Education.   In 1973 Harry and Fritzi moved to Tacoma, WA.  They lasted only 3 years in what Harry called the “dreary” Northwest.  In 1976 they moved to Laguna Hills, CA.  Harry was a great Dad.  A boy could wish no better.  He was involved with me every step of my childhood.  Harry missed having a Dad when he grew up and I feel that made him evermore diligent in his attention to me.  It was he that really became the Eagle Scout.  It was he that really became the Air Force Pilot. Harry died peacefully on January 22, 2001 at the age of 86.  He always said that he had lived much longer than he should have, considering his profession and life style. He was a smoke-eating firefighter, a smoker who had quit, and a drinker that never quite quit. Harry was a great human being.  I will miss him greatly, but believe he went at the right time and I can let him go.  Even though Harry was not a God fearing man, I believe that his spirit is around and I will forever be impacted by his presence.  He was with me at every fire I fought.