A line of police cruisers and motorcycles last week proceeded from Mill Creek’s police headquarters to St. Francis Episcopal Church, with lights flashing all the way though the Town Center.
The officers weren’t following a dangerous suspect. They were paying respects to a dear friend and comrade who succumbed to cancer.
Family and friends of Sgt. Larry Davis came from all over the country to attend his memorial service at St. Francis Episcopal Church on Dec. 10.
Davis passed away Nov. 30 at St. Anthony’s Hospital in Carroll, Iowa. His battle with malignant mesothelioma – a rare form of cancer – ended at the age of 63.
Those who knew Davis say he was a jovial man with a contagious laugh.
“I liked to hear him laugh a lot,” said his son, Jason Davis of Portland. “He had a deep belly laugh. We would be in a crowded movie theater, and when he laughed, he would be the only person you would hear.”
Larry Davis had a long history of uniformed service. Following in the footsteps of his dad and brother, he enlisted in the Navy and served from 1961-64. He then served with the National Guard and Navy Reserves, eventually earning the rank of Petty Officer First Class.
Davis began his law enforcement career in 1971 with the Auburn, Iowa Police Department.
“Once he got into (police work), it seemed like it was his life’s work, right from the start,” said his brother, Earl Davis of Austin, Minn.
During the next 34 years, Davis would work for three other police departments, including Mill Creek where he became a sergeant in 2001. He was named Officer of the Year in 2002.
His roles at the department included firearms instructor, guild president, administrative sergeant, fleet maintenance manager, and accreditation team manager.
Those who worked with Davis say that he was a dedicated officer who cared deeply about the communities where he worked.
“He was like the old dog,” said Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Gary Trowbridge. Trowbridge worked with Davis at the Mill Creek Police Department before becoming a deputy. He also competed with Davis at Combat Oriented Police Shootout matches.
“He was always there for you, and he’d always have a smile on his face. Larry was great to work with, and you could always count on him no matter what,” Trowbridge said.
Davis was diagnosed with the asbestos-related form of cancer in 2003.
On Nov. 23, doctors at Chicago’s Creighton University Hospital informed Davis that chemotherapy treatments were not working. Davis was relocated to Auburn, Iowa, where he could be close to his hometown in Lake City, Iowa, and his parents. Many of his family members were able to visit before he passed away, including two sons, his parents, and all of his brothers and sisters.
“He was always in good spirits,” Earl Davis said. “He never complained. He just kept looking forward to the next day and hoping something would happen in his favor.
“One of the things he wanted people to know is that he really hoped he could get back (to Mill Creek) in order to see all these people. He loved these people. He wanted to get back out here and thank them for all their support and tell them how much it meant to him that he was supported by this town. He really loved this town.”
Larry Davis is survived by his parents, Harold and Mae Gormon; five children, Wendy Johnson, Jason Davis, Justin Davis, Jeremy Davis, Joey Davis; and two grandchildren, Sophie Johnson and Silas Davis.
He was laid to rest after a military funeral in Auburn, Iowa on Saturday, Dec. 3.