Wilburn Davis Amis
Wilburn Davis Amis
  • October 29, 1929 - April 26, 2017
  • Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

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Wilburn Davis Amis, Jr., "Dave" was born on Black Tuesday, October 29, 1929 in Council Grove, Kansas, to W. D. "Bill" and Elizabeth Cotton Amis. As a child, his family moved throughout the Midwest for their construction business. He attended 22 schools in Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas, and graduated from Wentworth Military Academy High School in 1946 and WMA Junior College in 1948 and went on to The University of Oklahoma. While attending OU, he enlisted in the United States Air Force and flew aircraft all over the world. As a part of the Strategic Air Command, he flew the B-25 Mitchell out of Vance Air Force Base in Enid and the KC-97 Stratotanker throughout Europe and North Africa. The mission: refueling B-47 Stratojets participating in the nuclear deterrent of the USSR during the cold war.
Airplanes and aviation were a lifelong passion for Dave. He obtained his pilot's license when he was just 16 and continued to fly his Shrike Commander well into his 70's. Aviation would lead him to his other lifelong passion, his wife. While stationed at Chennault Air Force Base in Lake Charles, Louisiana, he met a young schoolteacher, Susan Evans, on a blind date. They went on to be married for over 61 years.
After Dave's military service, he returned to OU and graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Business. He joined his father, Bill, at Amis Construction Company, the family business, where they completed large earthmoving projects all over the country. Dave led the construction efforts on several U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dams in Oklahoma, Texas, the Pacific Northwest and Arkansas. Some of his more notable projects were: Lake of the Arbuckles, Lake Robert S. Kerr, Canton Lake, several sections of the Interstate highway system, and the underground work on the Kilpatrick Turnpike. In 1967, the I-35 project through the Arbuckle Mountains was the state's largest rock excavation effort at the time, where Dave pioneered an innovative rock blasting technique known as pre-splitting. In addition, he oversaw the highway construction over Rabbit Ears Pass near Steamboat Springs, Colorado.
In 1980, Dave founded Amis Materials Company, which operated the rock quarry in Stringtown, Oklahoma. Crushed rock from that quarry was sent across the southwest United States as railroad ballast and road construction material. Additionally, he chaired Downtown Airpark, Inc., an internationally renowned aircraft service and maintenance center for corporate jets and turboprops. He was past President and Lifetime Director of the Oklahoma Municipals Contractors Association and past President and Director of the Association of Oklahoma General Contractors. He retired in 2012.
Aside from Dave's business career, he was a family man. While working on the groundbreaking project through the Arbuckle Mountains, Dave and his crew created a family farmhouse nestled on the family's property. Dave had a private grass runway at the family's farm and during the summer he would often fly his Cessna or Aero Commander to join the family Fridays after work. It was his loving creation and is where the family has chosen to spread his ashes. Dave and Susan hosted annual family reunions every June at that farm in the Arbuckle Mountains.
Dave was a wonderful father who worked diligently to provide for his large family. He supported their interests and passions. A maverick in his own right, he passed those same traits and quick wit on to his children, grand children and great grandchildren. He will be greatly missed.
Dave was a master procreator. His large family includes his loving wife, Susan, their six children: Dave III and wife, Angela; Page Beatty and husband, Ken; Scott; Suzy and husband, Jim; Charlie and wife, Cheri; and Rebecca and husband, Jeff; 19 grandchildren: WDA IV (Bill), Sarah and husband, Matt; Adam and wife, Charlotte; Daniel and wife, Miranda; Haydn, Bo and wife, Carisa; Mason, Jasper and wife, Solimar; Josephine, Claire, Quinn, Rose, Evan, Audrey, Henry, Channing, Derrien, Maggie and Harper; 6 great grandchildren: Tessa, Cooper, Archer, Jackson, Kate, and Huckleberry; and sister, Betsy Daugherty.
The family would like to acknowledge the extraordinary care that Dave's caregivers Glenda, Bobbi, Royce and Betty provided him, and the gentle guidance provided by his hospice providers, Suzanne and Katie. At his request, the family will have a private service. A reception and celebration of Dave's life will be held at the family's home on Saturday, April 29, from 4:00-6:00 PM. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to Dave's favorite charity, The Children's Center, 6800 N.W. 39th Expressway, Bethany, OK 73008. Arrangements under the direction of Hahn-Cook/Street & Draper Funeral Directors, Oklahoma City, OK.