Life Story for
John Hill Davies
John Hill Davies, 86, of Ketchum died unexpectedly on June 22, 2015.
He was born March 2, 1929, in Brighton & Hove, Sussex, England. He was preceded in death by his father John Llewelyn Davies in 1931 and his mother Doris Hilda Davies in 1976.
John was evacuated, because of the fear of bombings, as a young boy from the coastal area of Brighton to the Watts Naval School in North Elmham, Norfolk, England in 1939. It was here he gained his knowledge and love of the sea. After graduation with honors from Watts in 1947, he joined the Mercantile Marines. Sailing on many different ships, he experienced a vast variety of cultures and countries. In 1952, he joined the Cunard Line and served on both the Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary’s voyages from South Hampton to New York.
He immigrated to the United States in 1955. He traveled frequently between New York, San Francisco, and Colorado. He discovered his passion for skiing in Aspen in 1956. He also met the love of his life Karin in Aspen. They were married in Pacific Grove, California on October 31, 1969.
The summer of 1970, they spent in England, visiting John’s mother and exploring the English countryside from Land’s End, Cornwall to Inverness, Scotland. They moved from San Francisco that same year to an old homestead log cabin in West Ketchum -- a home John remodeled with much loving care and expertise over the past 45 years. Their two daughters were born at St Moritz Hospital in Sun Valley: Jessica in 1971 and Lillian in 1979.
In 1986, John and Karin moved with their daughters to Dorchester, England for the winter. The girls were enrolled in school, while Mom and Dad joined the “Casterbridge Ramblers” and explored the Dorset countryside while listening to historical comments from English hiking mates.
In 1987, John, with the help of Karin and Tom Johnson (CS English and Drama teacher) organized a “Theatre Trip” to England for interested Community School students and their parents. They enjoyed plays in London and Bath, with side trips to the Dorset coast. John would entertain the students with colorful stories of his life at a Naval boarding school during the war.
Beginning in 1970, John and Karin, always together, and some times accompanied by daughters and/or friends, hiked and backpacked to almost every lake in the Sawtooths, White Clouds, and Boulders. In the early 80’s John helped Karin’s parents create a charming vacation home “Casa Shillington” in Santiago, Colima, Mexico. The Casa has been enjoyed for over 30 years by family and dozens of friends with their children. John and Karin would put the Casa up for a week’s vacation for a variety of local fund raising events. In the 90’s they enjoyed scuba diving in the Caribbean with many dear friends. In 1998, John and Karin decided to join a hiking excursion in Switzerland. They explored the awesome Swiss mountains on many subsequent trips, often with daughters and Ketchum friends.
There are lots of tales among locals about “Sir” John’s humorous adventures. He was an avid reader, especially books about WWII. His knowledge of English and European history was always astounding.
He was a wonderful father, a loving husband, and admired by many for his joy in living. He will be greatly missed.
John is survived by his wife, Karin Lore Shillington Davies, daughter Jessica Clifford and husband Mark Clifford and grandson Caden Clifford, daughter Lillian Davies and fiancé Thayne Rolf
A Celebration of John’s life will be held later this summer.
Cremation is under the care of Wood River Chapel
Memorial donations may be made to:
The Animal Shelter Wood River Valley
Hospice & Palliative Care Wood River Valley
The Sawtooth Society