Employees remember Davis as a great boss Mr. Pioneer: He was active in community
Carl Davis began his banking career as an assistant teller in 1939 at Baker State Bank, where he worked until he enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard in July of 1942 He was honorably discharged in September 1945 as a radioman first class.
He continued to work at Baker State Bank and was called to active duty again for a short time in 1950. He was offered a position with Pioneer Federal Savings in 1953. Davis was known as an astute businessman, Bailey said. “He had a really good mind for business and people admired and respected him,” she said. “He was interested in helping people. When people came in for a home he helped them.”As a savings and loan institution, Pioneer was primarily confined to home loans, she said. At one time, 80 percent of the homes in Baker were financed through Pioneer, and the firm handled the highest number of GI loans in Oregon, she said.
Al Durgan, who retired after 34 years with Pioneer served as executive vice president under Davis and later as Pioneer Bank president “He was a person that had a multitude of friends and absolutely no enemies,” Durgan said. “He was fair, honest, enjoyed his work and enjoyed the people he worked with. Very seldom did I ever hear him raise his voice.” Durgan agreed that Davis was a great boss, even being too lenient on his employees at times.
“Sometimes I felt he should have been a little harsh and he wasn’t,” he said.
Dave Curtis, who retired in 1999 after a 36-year career with the bank, recalls the fatherly advice Davis gave him one morning when he arrived late for work after first filling his deer tag. “He said, ‘I’m glad you had success,’ but he said, ‘You probably shouldn’t be doing that if you can’t make it to work on time,” Curtis recalled. “He was like a father image,” he said. “He was a wonderful, wonderful man. I really loved him.” Davis was “Mr. Pioneer,” overseeing every aspect of the business, including its expansion into other communities Curtis said.
He also was a strong community supporter and was a civic and business leader during his career in Baker City. He was state Jaycee of the Year in 1948 and served for several years on the Baker County Fair Board. He was a member of the Elks Lodge, was active in the early organization of the Baker County Historical Society, a past president of the Baker County Chamber of Commerce and served as chairman of the St. Elizabeth Hospital Fund Drive.
He was the chairman of Gov. Mark Hatfield’s Campaign twice and served for several years on the Executive Committee of the Oregon Savings and Loan League and as its president in 1958. He served several terms on the Legislative Committee of the U.S. Savings and Loan League in Washington, D.C.
After his retirement in 1980, he and his wife, Illa, spent summers in Baker City and winters at Yuma, Ariz., before moving to Joseph for the last several years.
His funeral will be at 1 pm Wednesday at the First Church of the Nazarene, 1250 Hughes Lane. Vault interment will be at Mount Hope Cemetery. Pastor Ralph Holcomb and Jack Pittman will officiate. There will be a reception afterward at the Nazarene Church Fellow ship Hall.
Visitations will be from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Gray’s West & Co Chapel, 1500 Dewey Ave.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Parkinson’s Resource Fund or the Baker City Christian Church Building Fund through Gray’s West &
Co., P.O. Box 726, Baker City, OR 97814.
Baker City Herald – Baker City, OR Monday, November 29, 2004 Page 12
Contributed by: Gary Jaensch
Davis a Pioneer in Baker banking
‘Mr. Pioneer’ built bank into a regional company
Carl Davis, who led the expansion of Pioneer Federal Savings from a three -person office to a multi-million-dollar operation employing dozens of people in offices throughout Northeastern Oregon, died Saturday at the age of 89 of Parkinson’s disease. Davis and his wife of 66 years, Illa, spent the last few years in Joseph at the Alpine House Care Center, an assisted living center. He retired from Pioneer Bank in 1980. Pioneer merged with First Bank NW in October 2003. Ronald Davis said his father was known in the community as “a fine gentleman.” “In my 64 years, I never heard, anyone say a bad thing about him, which is pretty remarkable,” he said. Alberta Bailey, who retired from Pioneer Bank as corporate secretary after 27 years with the company, remembers Davis as “the best boss in the world.” “He was a great guy to work for” she said. “I couldn’t say enough about him.”
Davis grew up in the Rock Creek area and attended all 12 years of school at the Muddy Creek School west of Haines, graduating in 1933. His education included 14 months of business and bookkeeping studies at Baker Business College in 1935 and 1936. He also took three correspondence courses through American Institute of Banking over the next two years. He and his wife, Illa Lorraine Hunt, were married on May 21, 1938, at Weiser, Idaho. In addition to Ronald, the couple had three other children, Marilyn, Richard and Michael.
By Chris Collins, Baker City Herald Contributed by: Gary Jaensch