It’s been a week since a woman lost her husband, children lost their father, siblings lost a brother and neighbors lost a friend they lovingly called “Mr. Samish Island.”
On the north end of Samish Island on Friday morning, community members gathered at the home of Marlene Schuck to talk about her brother, Charles “Chuck” Davis. Some cried openly as they remembered how much he meant to them and how over the years he quietly took on the mantle of community leader and caretaker.
Davis’ 33-year-old son, Lane Maurice Davis, is in jail awaiting formal charges in his father’s death. Chuck Davis was stabbed to death last week in what an affidavit describes as a domestic dispute.
“If he’d died of a heart attack, we’d be sad,” Marlene Schuck said through tears. “This situation makes it so much more devastating.”
Catherine Davis, who is Chuck’s wife and Lane’s mother, did not join the group or comment for this story. But her sister, Angie Mashaw, said Catherine and other family members wanted to let the community know how much Chuck Davis will be missed.
Family members sent an email notice to others in their tight-knit Samish Island community to let them know a journalist was coming to hear about Chuck Davis. More than a dozen showed up to join family members, including his daughter Allison Davis, to describe his impact on their lives.
Allison talked about how her dad supported her in “every silly old thing” she did.
“I could ask him to do anything for me,” she said. “He was really a pushover.”
He coached her softball team when she was a child, replaced her stolen bicycle when she was in college and bought her a dog at a garage sale several years ago. Most of all, she recalled what he gave of himself.
“He just gave us so much time,” she said.
Chuck Davis was born and raised in Sedro-Woolley with his brother Norm and sisters Marilyn, Margery and Marlene. He went to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and later to law school at the University of Washington to become a maritime attorney.
He practiced in Seattle but would often return to Skagit County to take his family camping on Samish Island. They moved there permanently in 2000. Seventeen years later, at 73, he had yet to fully retire. Marlene Schuck recalled that he would take business calls while fishing in the Samish River.
Fishing and boating were a huge part of Chuck Davis’ life, and neighbors said he took it upon himself to catch the fish — and cook it — for the community potluck dinners the Samish Island neighbors hold three times a year.
This year, they’re putting out the word to others to save fish for the September event, which they plan to hold in his honor.
Chuck Davis served as a member and previously as president of their local island community board and always urged others to participate, said friend and fellow board member Jerry Sells.
“He had a way of expressing himself without taking over,” Sells said. “He was very persuasive. It’s rare anyone disagreed with him.”
Always smiling and with a keen sense of humor, Sells said Chuck Davis could have been mayor if Samish Island had such a thing, but “Mr. Samish Island would be a good title for him.”
Most notably, Chuck Davis took care of things for people and his community.
Neighbor Laurie Lundgren said that when her husband had surgery near the holidays a decade ago, Chuck Davis called and told her to bring out the outdoor lights — he was going to put them up just the way she wanted them.
Her husband Doug said Chuck Davis was the island’s unofficial first responder.
When a recent storm caused property damage at 18 area homes, Chuck Davis coordinated a unified effort, bringing in a civil engineer to work with all the properties at once.
“He spent I don’t know how much time coordinating that,” Doug Lundgren said.
Marlene Schuck said that when her husband Mark was coming home from the hospital, they arrived earlier than expected to find Chuck Davis cleaning the house’s windows that look out over the bay.
He hadn’t wanted them to know he was doing it, but told her that Mark would need clean windows to look out of while he recovered, she said.
Even on the water, Chuck Davis was looking out for others.
Nurith St. Pierre said when she and her partner went to pull crab pots, he would come over to make sure they were OK.
“You didn’t have to ask him,” she said. “It’s such a loss for everybody.”
Many days, he could be found walking his dogs through the neighborhood, picking up any trash he found, neighbors said.
“The man is irreplaceable. He did so many things for this community,” said neighbor Ken Wood.
Marlene Schuck said the community support will help the famly move forward, but she knows it will be a tough road ahead because beyond the loss of Chuck Davis, there is also the situation with his son, Lane.
She said her brother would want to know that this tragedy could help someone else.
“If there’s any good that can come out of this, it’s a hope that parents of children with issues need to reach out to others and find advocacy,” Marlene Schuck said.
Even in the face of tragedy, there are moments of joy. As the family members and neighbors talked about Chuck Davis Friday morning, a text and a photo arrived from his son, Peter, whose wife had just given birth to a baby girl.
The announcement of Chuck’s third grandchild was met with hugs and more tears, but happy ones this time.
Her name is Charlotte Marguerite Davis. The name Charlotte is in honor of her grandfather.