Dedicated Moabite and former The Times-Independent reporter Ken Davey left a lasting impact on both the people in his life and the city he served. He was remembered during a memorial and remembrance of life Saturday, Dec. 9 as a hard-hitting journalist, a harsh yet loveable jokester, and a dedicated husband and father.
Davey passed away Sunday, Dec 3 at age 64.
“I think, by and large, Ken loved Moab and Moab loved Ken,” said Adrien Taylor, publisher emerita of The Times-Independent. “Ken was a good guy. He tried to be fair. He tried to be unbiased.”
Davey, who reported for The Times-Independent between 1989 and 1997, was intricately involved in the community since he moved to Moab in 1987, and Taylor said his reporting style reflected his personality.
“In his hard line of questioning, he did not hold back. But at the end of the day, or after the interview, he revealed a big heart and a steadfast dedication to the facts,” Taylor said. “Ken was good for the community because he challenged people and challenged the way things were, or are. Some people thought that he was being critical. Challenging has to be a little critical.”
Davey also served as Moab’s economic development specialist. “He had this knowledge that he gained reporting that he later used at the city, and he had a very interesting historical perspective that went all the way back to the late 80s and all the way to the present. I think his ability to see the past and apply some of those lessons to the present, were part of his success and his ability to see things clearly,” said Davey’s wife Julie.
Davey’s legacy can be seen in the issues he championed; he maintained an insistence on affordable housing options, an issue that has been brought to the forefront of Moab’s priorities, and his dedication to the multicultural center.
“Throughout his life he was a fighter for the underdog,” Julie said. “I don’t know how he got there, but it was definitely a part of who he was.”
For many people who knew him, Davey’s legacy is grounded in his son, Cisco. “I think having a child here really grounded him in being very loyal to the town,” Julie said.
“His big thing was just helping out the working people. He wanted more opportunities for families,” Cisco said of his father’s work.
According to his family, Davey was an involved father. An enthusiastic sports fan, he imparted this to Cisco and several of Davey’s friends reiterated their impression of him as a father, always picturing him playing ball with Cisco.
“From age 9 until I was 17 in high school, I don’t think he ever missed a single football game. Not one.” Cisco said.
Coaching Cisco in sports was one of the ways Davey imparted life lessons to his son. “When I was in 6th grade, we played against another team in a game to get to state,” Cisco said. “One of our catchers tried to pick somebody off of third base, and he overthrew the ball so that the other player ran home and scored. One of the other assistant coaches started screaming and wanted to throw the kid out. And my dad just said to the other coach, ‘listen, it’s a kid. If we throw him out now it’s only going to shake his confidence.’ It was cool for me to see that my dad stood up for the kid. It really helped that kid’s confidence for the rest of his sports career. He played a good game after that, we just didn’t win.”
Along with the competitive edge and ‘no excuses’ mindset Davey imparted to his son, he left Cisco with an appreciation for the nuances of humanity and the reminder never to “take yourself too seriously.”
“He taught me great work ethic, he taught me responsibility,” Cisco said. “There were times when I made mistakes, and he was never really hard on me, but he was always like ‘that’s on you. No excuses.’ He held me accountable.”
“He wasn’t afraid to laugh at himself,” Julie added. “He laughed at himself the most.” “He was witty and pointed, and he had a lot of opinions and he liked to share them,” said Ken’s brother, Larry Davey. “He was the Oscar Wilde of Moab.”