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William Dean Davis

william davis
Dean was born August 31, 1913 in Shreveport, Louisiana and passed away at age 93 on May 25, 2007 at Hill Country Memorial Hospital in Fredericksburg, Texas. He grew up in Dallas where he had a paper route from age 10. He attended Forest Avenue High School where he was in the Leaders Club and won a state Latin contest. He was interested in radio from an early age and after high school, moved to Beaumont to attend radio school. Upon graduation during the depression, he was unable to find work in the field, but earned 50 cents a week to sleep in a fire station and hang his radio operator’s license on the wall. He supplemented his income by repairing radios door-to-door. He continued to fix radios and TVs for friends throughout his life. He eventually found work in the newspaper industry as a printer and worked in numerous cities throughout the South and Midwest to earn journeyman status. Dean met his wife, Maybelle Lowry, in Beaumont and married on February 10, 1940. They had two sons there before moving to San Antonio in 1948 for a job at the San Antonio Light newspaper. There he worked in the composing room for nearly 30 years, much of that time setting up the front page and main section of the paper. Early in his career he trained on a new Linotype machine and retired just as computers were taking over the printing department. He maintained his interest in radios all his life as an amateur (Ham) radio operator, W5BGE. In early years he sought contacts around the world. More recently, he participated in communication nets and talked almost every day with friends across Texas. He managed to put his experience to work during WW II installing radios on ships in Port Arthur. He was active in maintaining readiness for emergency communications and was recently recognized for 75 years of participation by the Quarter Century Wireless Association. Dean enjoyed camping and Scouting with his sons and served as a scout leader with Troup 46 at Los Angeles Heights Methodist Church. He was a Counselor for Merit Badges in Radio and Printing. After retiring, he and Maybelle spent 18 years making friends with other RVers around the country, often combining camping trips with amateur radio conventions. He had a ready smile and had met everyone in the RV park before dinnertime. Trips to California and Branson were inspired by their love of dancing to big band music. RV trips often included fishing as well, a lifelong pleasure of Maybelle. Dean had been a member of Beacon Hill Presbyterian Church since 1948. He served as Deacon and Elder, and again applied his experience to help with recording and amplification equipment. He was a Mason for over 50 years with the Blue Bonnet Lodge and was also a member of the Alzafar Shriners. He was preceded in death by his parents Buford and Elma Jones Davis and his sister Ruby Davis Tillery and his beloved wife Maybelle. He is survived by his sons Dean Lowry Davis and Dale Malcolm Davis and wife Marlyn; his much adored grandchildren, Christopher Wendel Davis, Lissa Lowry Davis and her husband Rusty Tchernis. He is also survived by nieces Marion Moses and husband Jerry, Jean Rambo and husband Bill and nephew Robert Lowry. The family extends heartfelt thanks to Dr. Kimberly Heller and her staff at Jefferson Family Practice for many years of loving care for both Dean and Maybelle. In addition we would like to thank Dr. Yvonne Haug, the staffs at Knopp Assisted Living Center, Knopp Nursing Home, and Hill Country Memorial Hospital for their exceptionally kind care during recent months. Memorial services will be held at Beacon Hill Presbyterian Church, 1100 Woodlawn Ave. on Saturday, June 16, at 2:30 PM with a reception to follow at the church. Memorials may be made to a charity of choice, the American Heart Association or Beacon Hill Presbyterian Church. Obituary and guestbook can be found online at

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Memories Timeline


  1. I feel very fortunate to have known Dean Davis. Many years ago, when the Radio Club still met upstairs at the old Red Cross building, Dean was one of the speakers on Old Timers’ Night. I have remembered his stories about his start in amateur radio, during the depression years, and how radio skills helped him earn a living then, and during World War II. I have repeated his account of walking from house to house, asking how the radio was playing. When he found a broken set, he would ask if he could look at it. If he thought he could fix it, and the owner agreed, he would carry the set to a shop where he rented bench space, repair it, and then return it to the owner with a modest bill for the work and parts. How different the times and the people were then! Dean enriched my life, as I am sure he did the lives of many others. He has been missed ever since he had to drop out of the Saturday breakfast group, and he will continue to be missed for years to come.

  2. Dean Davis, Amateur Radio call letters W5BGE, which he jokingly claimed stood for “Five Big Green Elephants”, was a long time supporter of and contributor to many facets of life in San Antonio. He was active in several amateur radio clubs, mentored many, many Boy Scouts, and kept the presses running at The San Antonio Light. He and his wife Maybelle (known to us as “Sis”) were our friends for over 50 years. We always enjoyed their company, and will miss hearing his voice over the radio and his presence at many functions. 73, Dean, and may the force always be with you. George (W5VPQ) and Ella (W5TSE) Munsch

  3. I first met Dean in 1952. We had many Ham Radio QSO’s over the years. We Often met at the Saturday morning breakfasts when we in San Antonio. Dean was one of the original “Good Old Boys” and we will all miss him. 73 Dean-o Bob W5WVY

  4. It is good to know Dean will be reunited with his beloved Maybelle (Sis, to many) after only a brief separation. My memories of Dean go back to 54 years ago as I went to play with his sons, Dean and Dale and I would end up sitting and listening to him contact people in distant places via his HT-9 transmitter and its mysterious large glowing tubes. In later years there were the great camping trips, trips to Kerrville in the sleet and snow to watch Edison High play football against Tivy, then when Dean administered the novice exam to me in 1970 and then on April 16, 1970, at 1800 CST when he became my first ham radio contact at 3.708 MHz. He even arranged for a pile-up because immediately after that QSO, Ivan Mangold, WA5RNV called me for my second contact. Those were magical days. I also remember doing a surprise magic show for Dean at his retirement party, I think in 1977 or 1978. As usual, he was a man of few words, but the look on his face was more than worth the effort. To Dean…may the bands always be open old friend…you will be sorely missed. One last “73”. John (W5JAT)

  5. I am sorry to here of your loss. I remember your dad from our elementry school years. Also, our parents were great friends during though years. My God Bless you and your family at this time.

  6. I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Davis only a few months ago at the the retirement home in Fredericksburg where both Mr. Davis and my mother of 94 years lived. Of course, Dale and his wife, Marlyn, were there to look after “Pop”. I went to Edison High School with both of them. Even though I know little about Mr. Davis, I noticed that quiet smile on his face. I want to thank Dale and Marlyn for being such loving care takers and looking after his personal needs. I am grateful to know such fine people and to have had the opportunity to meet such a fine man and father. All the best, John K. Harkins

  7. Dear Dale, Marlyn and Family, “When we recall the past, we usually find that it is the simplest things-not the great occasions-that in retrospect give off the greatest glow of happiness.” I love this remark from Bob Hope and I thought you would be able to relate to it, too. I am sure you have so many wonderful memories-it is difficult to give up our parents but we are thankful for all the years they had. You are in our thoughts and prayers- With our sincere sympathy, Lynda, Don and family

  8. My deepest heartfelt sympathy on the death of your Father and your Mother last year. Your Mother was my Fifth grade teacher when I attended Ben Franklin Elementary in the 1975-76 school year. Your Mother was a wonderful teacher. She attributed to my beautiful handwriting. I had a difficult time writing in cursive, but your Mother’s persistence got me through it. I grew up on Santa Monica, the street over from your parent’s house on Santa Anna. I visited your parents a couple of times as a child and had the opportunity of meeting your Father. He was a very nice gentleman and made me feel welcomed during my little visits. You are blessed to have had such wonderful individuals as parents and grandparents. Sincerely, Ron Hesdorff

  9. Dean, Dale, Marlyn & Family We are so sorry on your dad’s passing. Herb remembers some wonderful times with you and your parents. We know that you will miss him but his memories will live on forever.

  10. Pop . . . . for me, he is a loving memory – – a very kind and gracious man. I met him back in 1959 when his son invited me to a Boy Scouts’ picnic. The Davis family played a major role in my life as I grew up. I spent many Sundays with the family. Although my life took a separate path as an adult, our relationship remained the same as I kept in contact. My heart holds a very special place for he and his family. My heartfelt condolances to Dean, Dale & Marlyn and their family. Much love to all of you, Kay

  11. Our condolences from the 7290 Traffic Net. We thought a lot of Dean and Maybelle. Jo Ann Keith KA5AZK

  12. It is with deep regret the amateur radio 7290 TRAFFIC NET learned of your passing.. The 7290 TRAFFIC NET extends it greatest sympathy to your family.

  13. I first met Dean way back in the early 60’s. He quickly became one of my best “radio friends” and we talked just about every night on ham radio for many years. I can still hear that clear strong signal Dean always had. It won’t be the same without W5BGE. Rest in Peace, my friend. You are missed! Johnny Davis K5JD Formerly K5LZA

  14. The entire Kennedy Fammily, Tex N5TX, Craig KB5BI, Edna Marie N5AEO. Karen N5FXL,Eddie N5GEL, Kevin KA5CHZ wish to give our condolences to the Davis Family.

  15. Until very recently, Pop read the paper from cover to cover every day, and he once explained to me that if the Science section article had anything to do with the brain, he would cut it out and send it to his granddaughter. Pop showed his love for technology and media in quiet but consistent support of my interests. I would get letters from him in my mailbox. There would be no note, just a newspaper clipping of an article that was always interesting to me. I am also still getting Scientific American, which was my brithday present from Pop for years and years.

  16. I knew Dean mostly as a friendly and respected voice on the radio, W5BGE, a mainstay on the traffic nets and always ready to assist in any weather or other emergency. Once, while my wife and I were youngsters and camping near San Antonio, I called him on the landline, and the next thing I knew we were invited (no, directed) to come over and share some barbeque and good times. Dean and Maybelle treated us like family (indeed he was my dad’s age), and I will always remember that day and the other time I was lucky enough to spend with Dean in later years. We will miss him very much.

  17. Dean will be remembered as a mentor who set the example for youth as a leader in the Scouting Program. His gentle smile, interest in people, and love of good food were evident in the many Easter and Thanksgiving dinners we shared with Dean, Maybelle and family. He will be missed by many.

  18. We were friends with Dean from the time I first became an Amateur Radio Operator in 1966. Dean enjoyed Ham Radio, going camping, and viewing God’s creation. Sylvia and I remember our camping trips with Dean and the gang. We will miss him greatly.

  19. Dean aka Dean-O, was a regular part of every morning from 1978 till this year. We talked on 3780 MHz and he was such a positive influence on my life and my wife and daughters. I am sure he is with W5LVE,Frances, N5EN and the love of his life, Sis, just doing a lot of catch up. 73’s Old Friend – Save room on the net for us. See you soon. Semper Fidelis, Pat Dugan KA5GKO Phyllis Dugan KA5PEC Carlyn Pfeuffer KA5KHK Mike Pfeuffer W5QC Cayton Janner KA5GQT NOW W5LFG

  20. We first met Dean and his lovely wife Sis in 1985 when we joined the Bluebonnet Good Sam RV Club and shared many wonderful times together over the years.

  21. Aother one of the good guys becomes a silent key. Dean was the first Amateur operator I met when I arrived in San Antonio in 1960. He was always a pleasure to visit with and he will be missed.

  22. QCWA members wlll miss you as they did Mabelle..a lovely lady. Peace and love to you both.

  23. In the early 80’s.Dean help me get my Ham license between camping trips,He was always there when I or anyone needed help.Dean was all so known as Dean-O and Dad to many of his friends.He will be missed by all. Pat and Aberta

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