Floyd LaVerne Davis was born on March 26, 1913 in Platte, Twp., Michigan. As a child, he would hunt and trap for fur as a means of income in order to help support his family. It was here that he developed his incredible love of Mother Nature. He spent his childhood traveling throughout the United States and at age seventeen settled in the mountains near the Southern Oregon coast. There, Floyd began his comical drawings of animals and residents. At the same time, he began carving figures of small animals out of wood.
In the mid 1930's he met my grandmother, Agnes Nilsen, fell in love, and got married. They had three children, Frank, Emilie (my mother), and Jeff. Floyd's devotion to family and the responsibility of providing for them was his priority, so he ended up becoming a cement mason, working as a tradesman until he retired in the early 1970's.
However, Floyd's passion for sculpting could not be restrained. After long days at work, he often sculpted four to five hours and up to sixteen hours per day on weekends. Floyd's work at this time was on a smaller scale, and because of this, people would talk him into selling or giving his work to family and friends. In the late 1950's, Floyd began sculpting life size and larger pieces to avoid giving all his work away. As word began to spread about his art, he began taking work on commission. "The Bear" at the Tree House in Piercy, California; "The Indian and Panther" at Ship Ashore in Smith River, California; and "The Beaver" at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon are examples of commissioned work.
In 1964, Floyd was commissioned to sculpt a twenty-one foot salmon named "Indomitable" at the price of ten thousand dollars. The story behind the sculpting of this piece is far too long and a bureaucratic nightmare in itself. It was finally dedicated at Prairie Creek Fish Hatchery in Orick, California, in 1974. Another piece sold at this time was the "Gold Panner" to Bohemia, Incorporated, for approximately twenty-thousand dollars. The company renamed the piece "Bohemia Johnson" and put him on display in Eugene, Oregon.
In the early 1970's, Floyd retired and moved to Gasquet, California, where he bought a house on the beautiful Smith River. There he continued to sculpt for his own enjoyment and also poured energy into incredible gardens, another of his great passions. He remained here until his passing in December of 1999.
Floyd Davis was a proud yet humble family man with boundless energy and talent. His love of Mother Nature and hard work have combined to create some of the most magnificent sculptures of the 20th Century.