New Horizons Care Center resident Neil Davies celebrated his 90th birthday with family and friends at the care center on Saturday, April 13. Sons Ray and Myrl and daughter Janice Fink attended, along with his wife Ruth who is also a resident at the care center. Fink arranged for a special cake for her father decorated in John Deere colors because of his fondness for that particular brand of tractor.
Davies was born in Longmont, Colo. He came to Lovell for the first time in 1962 to work for the Great Western Sugar Company. Prior to that he worked for the sugar company in Colorado. He was the assistant superintendent at the time. He worked in Lovell for six years and was then sent to Nebraska for three years and then back to Loveland, Colo., where he stayed until he retired in 1985. He and his wife moved back to Lovell after his retirement.
“We moved back because of the people and because it’s a good place to be,” said Davies. “When I worked here at the sugar factory, it was the best people I ever worked with. They had something to do and they made sure they got it done. It was just a good group of people. That’s why I came back.”
Davies and his wife had four children, including a son Glyn who passed away. Son Myrl lives in Longmont, Colo. Son Ray lives in Estes Park and daughter Janice lives in Lovell with her husband Rich Fink.
Although Davies spent 35 years working for the sugar factory, he started out as a “farm boy,” working on the family farm in Colorado. He is the youngest of 12 children. His family farmed mostly small grain and provided custom farm work, like thrashing, for their neighbors.
Davies said he has fond memories of learning to drive on a brand new John Deere tractor when he worked on the family farm. His sons have since purchased and restored that very same tractor and he has photos of it posted in his room at the care center.
“The grasshoppers and the drought run us off the farm,” he said. “So, I got year-round work at the sugar factory and that’s where I stayed. I guess I stayed because I didn’t have anything better to do.”
Davies saw many changes over the years in the sugar business, including numerous ownership changes.
“There have been so many changes, I’d be totally lost in there today,” said Davies.
Son Myrl said, “When growing up, I knew that my dad had a good job. All the other kids at school were envious of me because my dad worked at the sugar factory.”
All three children worked at the factory at various times during campaign or on college breaks.
“We were called sugar tramps,” said Fink.
Davies reminisced about how his family enjoyed the local mountains.
“We spent our vacations here in the Big Horns and enjoyed ourselves mostly in the mountains,” said Davies.
Davies likes living close to his wife, who suffers from dementia, and he wears a special red hat to help her recognize him.
“I just like being with her and will sit with her even if she is sleeping and doesn’t know I am there,” said Davies. The couple has been married for 72 years.
By Patti Carpenter