Former News Tribune prep coordinator and copy editor Don Davison died Tuesday night at 77, his family said Wednesday.
He suffered from Parkinson’s disease in recent years and a rare form of dementia, they said.
Davison wrote about high school sports as the prep coordinator for 25 years, winning numerous awards for his work. He retired from the paper as a copy editor in 2001.
He became a state authority on high school sports during his 40-year newspaper career, and was inducted into the Tacoma-Pierce County Sports Hall of Fame, as well as that for the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association, which he worked with during and after his time at The News Tribune.
“In Washington state, Don Davison was Mr. Prep Sports for a long, long time,” said former News Tribune colleague Bill Schey. “He was a stats nut. Kept these incredibly detailed reports on every school in the state.”
Davison had fond memories of being dumped in showers after the Puyallup High basketball team won the state title in 1971, and of speaking at the team’s awards ceremony.
“He’d come in after covering a game, before the days of the Internet, and he was like a one-man gang,” Schey said, “gathering scores and stuff from all around the state. It wasn’t just from the big schools, either. It included little schools in the boonies of Eastern Washington that no one had ever heard of.”
He was known by co-workers for his attention to detail and a military buzz cut that long outlasted his service in the U.S. Air Force, in which he reached the rank of colonel, said his wife, Penny Sue Davison.
“Boy, if I made a mistake in the (church) newsletter or the bulletin, he let me know about it,” she said with laugh. “He was a stickler for having it right.”
He graduated from the University of Washington in journalism, and since 1954, couldn’t have missed more than three state tournaments for football or basketball, she said. He never used a sick day during his time at the paper.
“He was never satisfied until he had every single score in the state on a given night,” said Mike Ingraham, another former colleague. “He’d wait until the last possible second, because he had to get the last score. That’s just the way he was.”
As a copy editor for the last 15 years of his career, he read the paper cover to cover before work every day to check for mistakes and make sure no stories got repeated.
“He was a devoted worker, loved The News Tribune,” Penny Sue Davison said.
He is survived by his wife, a son, two daughters and a firstname.lastname@example.org