Cover photo for David W. Davenport's Obituary

David W. Davenport

March 31, 1937 — March 29, 2024

Bunnlevel, North Carolina

David W. Davenport

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David William Davenport, Sr., 86, of Bunnlevel, North Carolina passed away on Friday, March 29, 2024, at his home.

Dave was born on March 31, 1937, in Hot Springs, North Carolina to the late Charles Carlyle Davenport and Viola Margaret Pittman Davenport. He was a veteran of the United States Air Force and served his country proudly. After retiring from the Air Force in 1977, Dave went back to school and earned a degree from Fayetteville Technical Institute in Photography and Graphic Arts. He then returned to Pope Air Force Base and worked there as a base photographer and graphic artist until his second retirement in 2006. It was during this time that he created the "Herky Bird" character, an anthropomorphized C-130 airplane with a personality and a sense of humor. Already known worldwide as an expert on the history of the Hercules C-130 airplane, he became better known for his Herky Bird cartoons, which were a regular feature in the Pope AFB newspaper and on Air Force bases around the world.

Dave was also a lifelong NASCAR fan, having been a fan of many of the early drivers who learned their skills running moonshine. Dave might have even run a little moonshine himself for a time in his youth in the North Carolina mountains. While Dave never converted his driving skills to a career, he followed NASCAR and its drivers his whole life, and could be found in front of "a race" whenever one was on television.

Dave loved the mountains of North Carolina, and as dementia stole more and more of his memories in recent years, he always remembered his beloved mountains. Many happy memories of family time spent in the mountains started with Dave behind the wheel of their blue 1969 Volkswagen bus, Maggie riding shotgun, and five kids in the back with whatever menagerie happened to be living with them at the time. Their most epic trip, however, was the one where Dave drove from North Carolina to Maine in the summer of 1976 when, in addition to the family, the VW held four cats, two birds, a guinea pig, and a little white mouse.

Dave was preceded in death by his daughter, Barbara Lynne Davenport; son, David William Davenport, Jr.; brother, Kenneth Gordon Davenport; and sister, Barbara Davenport.

He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Margaret Hodgdon Davenport; daughters, Dixie Lee Clark and husband, Jayme Clark of Gahanna, Ohio, and Alicia B. (Lisa) Davenport of Durham, Connecticut; son, John Carlyle Davenport of Bunnlevel, North Carolina; brother, Charles Davenport and wife, Brenda of Fayetteville, Georgia; sisters, Alice Charles and husband, Henry of Greensboro, North Carolina, and Margaret Davenport Brenden and husband, Carl of Columbus, Montana; three grandchildren, Christopher Frazier, Jennifer Conn, and Alicia Gomez; and three great grandchildren, Makayla Gomez, Trenton Frazier, and Leo Frazier.

A memorial service will be held at 2:00 p.m. Tuesday, April 2, 2024, at O'Quinn-Peebles-Phillips Funeral Home Chapel, 1310 S. Main St., Lillington, NC 27546. The family will receive friends immediately following the service at the funeral home.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the national Alzheimer's Association, the Pine Grove Methodist Church at 53 Pine Grove Road, Spruce Pine, NC 28777, or any animal shelter of your choosing.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of David W. Davenport, please visit our flower store.

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