ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Gary Lynn Davis, Helena attorney and civic leader, died March 17, 2011, of progressive pulmonary disease in Albuquerque, N. M., on his way home after two months of hiking and photography in Sedona, Ariz.
Gary was born in Great Falls on May 6, 1940, to Kenneth Herbert Davis and Gertrude Pearl (Moe) Davis, both deceased. He grew up in Cut Bank; Cody, Wyo.; and Billings. After graduating from Shattuck School in Faribault, Minn., he earned a B.A. in economics from Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, Calif., in 1963. Gary graduated from the University of Montana Law School with a J.D. degree in 1966. He served from 1966 to 1970 as a captain in the U.S. Army’s Judge Advocate General’s Corps, the last year as chief prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trial Center in Furth-Bayern, Germany.
Gary joined the law firm of Luxan & Murfitt in 1971 and was a partner for 38 years. The primary focus of his practice was litigation, real property, and commercial transactions. He served as counsel for St. Peter’s Hospital for 25 years and the Helena Airport Authority Board for 16 years.
Gary was active in civic affairs, serving as president of the Model Cities Board of Directors in the early 1970s, Helena city commissioner from 1977 to 1980, and president of the Montana Club and the local bar association. He was especially honored to have served on the Montana Supreme Court’s Commission on Practice, which is charged with upholding the ethics and advising on the conduct of the state’s lawyers.
With his wife Cindy, Gary traveled to remote and challenging places around the world, including Russia, China and the Silk Road, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Egypt, Pakistan, India, and most recently Machu Picchu in Peru. He documented the sights and cultures with many photographs and sought out just the right vantage points to pursue this satisfying hobby. Even when he was trying to make time on road trips throughout the American West, he often pulled over to admire the view and exercise his shutter finger.
Gary loved hearing and sharing good stories, reading (the thicker the book the better), quizzing people about their lives, and embarking on adventures large and small. He worked on a gold dredge in Alaska and on highway construction crews in Montana, drove a school bus, sold horseback rides as a kid in Cody, restored antique and classic cars, made beer and wine, and became a skilled remodeler and woodworker. Throughout his life, he was well-known for his keen sense of humor and masterminding numerous practical jokes.
Gary is survived by his wife of 20 years, Cindy Lewis, and their beloved corgi, Koko. His children from his first marriage to Margaret Schack Davis, Kenneth M. Davis (Louise Chandler) of Anaconda and Margaret “Meg” E. Davis (Brian Perleberg) and grandson Roy of Portland, Ore., survive him; as do his sisters LeAnn Davis Lane (Frank) of Anacortes, Wash., and Marilyn K. Davis (Mike Harrington) of Vancouver, Wash., and their families. He also was close to cousins Sharon Lynn Shelton of Ambler, Pa., and Janet Lynn Foresman of Cheyenne, Wyo., and their families.
Cremation has taken place.
A celebration of his life will be held at the Montana Club on a date to be announced. Memorials can be sent to the Helena Education Foundation, Lewis & Clark Library, MontanaPBS, Yellowstone Association Institute, or the charity of your choice.