PITTSBURG — The Pittsburg Public Library was a special place for the late Pleasant “PE” Davis.
To the library staff and visitors, Davis was special too.
“He was just beloved by everybody at the library,” Pittsburg Public Library Executive Director Bev Clarkson said. “He was the most pleasant person — well named. He had a smile for everyone and a story.
“We just loved it when he came through the door.”
Davis passed away in September, just shy of 100 years old, and despite being in his late 90s he still visited the library. Davis was an Air Force veteran, dedicated library patron, board member, Friends of the Library volunteer, and “all around nice guy.” In lieu of flowers at the service, his family generously asked that donations be made to the library.
The library staff gathered and decided to create a memorial for their late friend.
“He was just the most wonderful, nice, kind person you could imagine,” Clarkson said. “We’re thrilled to have a memorial for him at the library.”
Clarkson was a bit nervous, however, to show the family the statue they wanted to use as a memorial, but the statue — a smiling dragon — called to her.
“It was a bit out of the box,” Davis’ daughter Carolyn Kretzer said.
But what Clarkson didn’t know was that the statue would have a special significance to the family. For summer vacation his family would go to Red River, New Mexico. Approximately 15 minutes from their destination, Davis would respond to his grandchildren’s question “are we there yet?” and he would say “Look for the dragon, look for the dragon,” Kretzer said.
Upon seeing the photograph of the statue from the back of Clarkson’s cell phone, Kretzer cried.
“It was a special thing to look for when my kids were little because it would let them know we were almost there,” she said. “So when I saw that dragon it just had a double meaning that Bev didn’t even intend, that made it even more special.”
Kretzer said when she told her kids about the dragon they immediately associated it with the Red River dragon and their grandfather.
According to his daughter, Davis had always loved to read and he’s read every genre and from a wide range of authors.
“He always said that no matter what you read you always learn something you didn’t know,” Kretzer said. “He just loved to read and picked up anything and read it.”
Davis’ time spent at the library started as a child and continued throughout adulthood. The library also became a special place where he and his daughter would go.
“When I was a kid we went to the library on Wednesday nights while mom made ceramics — that was our time together, so he introduced me to the library,” Kretzer said.
When his wife Billie passed away in 1999 the library became a place of solace for him, Kretzer said. He spent a lot of time there and made many special friends, she said.
“It was just a special place to him,” his daughter said. “When he would go up there it was never just to get a book, it was to visit with his friends too. When he passed away, it was a natural place for us to have a memorial for him.”
— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.