WHAT: Joe Davies Memorial Plaque Dedication and National Aviation Day Recognition.
WHEN: Wednesday, Aug. 19, 9 a.m.
WHERE: Joe Davies Heritage Airpark at Palmdale Plant 42, 2001 E. Ave. P, Palmdale.
WHO: Family of Joe Davies, Palmdale Mayor Steve Hofbauer, Palmdale City Councilmembers, Lorraine Sadler (Davies’ secretary and lifelong friend), Chaplain Fred Villa, Highland High School Air Force Junior ROTC, Air Force Plant Director Dr. David Smith, City staff.
WHY: To unveil a memorial plaque in honor of Joe Davies and celebrate National Aviation Day.
BACKGROUND: Joe Davies Heritage Airpark was dedicated on February 7, 2008 in honor of notable Palmdale and Antelope Valley resident Joseph P. Davies Jr. He was born on January 5, 1923, in Mt. Vernon, Missouri at his grandmother’s home. His mother was Mildred Spalding Davies, a schoolteacher, and his father was Joseph P. Davies, Sr., a judge. His parents met when they were students at the University of Missouri, where his father also graduated from law school. Shortly after his birth, his family moved to Ponca City, Oklahoma where he lived until after his graduation from high school. In 1943 Joe entered the Army Air Corps and began pilot training, but by the time he finished his training WWII had ended. Joe decided to continue serving his country and made the military his career. In 1949 Joe married Audria Hall in Sacramento, California, and they had four children: Jane, Joseph P. III, Marilyn, and Diana.
In 1962 Joe moved his family to Palmdale, California two months before its incorporation. From 1963-1967, he served as commander of US Air Force Plant 42, an aeronautics manufacturing plant. He was deployed to Vietnam in 1967 and served one year as commander of an Airlift Control organization at Phù Cát Air Base. Joe was then stationed at Lowry Air Force Base in Denver, Colorado, and in 1973, he retired from the Air Force after 32 years of service as a Lt. Colonel, gladly returning to Palmdale.
Joe Davies Heritage Air Park in Palmdale was named after Joe because of his service to aeronautics and his many contributions to the people of the Antelope Valley. He served on the Palmdale City Council for three terms, 1988, 1992, and 1996. He also served on the Antelope Valley Board of Trade, AV Transportation Authority, Palmdale Kiwanis Club, Boy Scouts, Little League, Salvation Army, United Way, and Edwards Flight Test Historical Foundation. He supported the Palmdale City Library and Palmdale Playhouse in addition to the volunteers at Joe Davies Heritage Air Park and its Adopt-a-Plane program. He would come out to the park and thank participants for their involvement and dedication. Joe loved his service to the city, particularly his job at Plant 42, saying, “It was the best job I ever had in the Air Force.”
Davies passed away on Sept. 7, 2016, six weeks after his wife, Audie. Always the gentleman, he waited for his wife to go first, knowing she wouldn’t be able to live without him.
VISUALS: Monument sign unveiling, and a collection of aircraft flown, tested, designed, produced, or modified at United States Air Force Plant 42.
INFORMATION: Phone: 661/267-5115; email: firstname.lastname@example.org. www.CityofPalmdale.org/airpark