Long-time Grants Pass resident Davis Jensen Stanger, 92, passed away peacefully on November 26th 2021 in Portland, Oregon. His family was gathered around him. Davis was born in Butte, Montana on July 2, 1929 to Davis B. and Viola Stanger, where he quickly learned to love his family, enjoy the outdoors, embrace the value of hard work, and gain an ethic for helping people – what he called “the code of the West.” He had two sisters and five brothers, two of which survive him.
According to his mother, Davis was always on the move: At just 8 months old, he was running – not just walking – around Butte. Some of Davis’ early memories include selling anything and everything to help everyone in the family. From selling paper shamrocks before St. Patrick’s Day and collecting the empty bottles afterwards, Davis always found ways to contribute. He collected his first rare coins while in Butte.
At the age of 15, Davis moved with his family to Klamath Falls. When his family moved to Grants Pass in 1946, he quickly got to know everyone during his senior year before graduating from Grants Pass High School in 1947. After a few adventures in Southern California, which included working at a tungsten mine in Bishop California, Davis drove his 1936 Chevy back to Grants Pass in 1949, where he bought a home.
Soon after he met Shirley Jean Reid, and they married on August 6th, 1950. Davis and Shirley were married for 65 years before Shirley passed away in December of 2015. They had five children, four of whom survive: Davis Stanger, of Beaverton, Oregon, Serena Stanger of Grants Pass, Julie Lovin of Tualatin, Oregon, and James Stanger of Olympia, Washington. Their beloved daughter, Paula Kay Stanger, passed away in 1961.
Together Davis and Shirley have 16 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren (with one more great grandchild on the way), all of whom remember Dave’s love of gardening, his family Saturday morning breakfasts, poolside parties, and the never-ending stream of Western movies and TV shows that he knew by heart. For 25 years on Christmas Day, the Stangers welcomed anyone who wanted to join in on their traditional Christmas Breakfast.
Davis was a partner in the House of Insurance agency for close to 50 years, insuring the City of Grants Pass, Josephine County, and many restaurants, car dealerships, hotels, and businesses. Active in the community, he was a member of the 20/30 Active Club, Kiwanis and Elks. In addition to being an avid fisherman and whitewater navigator, Davis worked tirelessly as a member of the Grants Pass Water Commission and in other civic duties for decades. In 1976 and 1980, he was a delegate to the Republican National Convention, and served as the area leader for the Reagan campaign.
He was part of the first Barnstormers Theatre plays in the early 1950s, also entertaining audiences with his friends Ray Salisbury and Wally Martin. Davis was even one of the storied “Cavemen” that entertained audiences (and terrified children) for years. As Active Club President, he was instrumental in creating the Boatnik Festival in 1959, for which he was honored as Boatnik Parade Grand Marshal in 2018.
Davis served as Bishop, and Stake Presidency counselor for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, helping organize the church into a Stake in 1976. He was a member of the Grants Pass Stake High Council until 2015. He worked selflessly to serve the people in his ward and Stake, and the community.
Funeral services will be held in Grants Pass at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, December 4th at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Savage Street Building, with interment at Hillcrest Memorial Park in Grants Pass.