Friends, family to gather Sunday in Vail to celebrate life of Rodney Davis, raise money for memorial fund | VailDaily.com
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Friends, family to gather Sunday in Vail to celebrate life of Rodney Davis, raise money for memorial fund

Memorial fund will help the family pay for end-of-life expenses and create a memorial site in Davis' name

Rodney Davis on an elk hunting trip with his springer spaniels. Part of the funds from the Rodney Davis Memorial Fund will support the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to preserve the wild habitats he loved.
Meryl Jacobs/Courtesy photo

Friends and family of Rodney Davis are holding a gathering at Vendetta’s Restaurant in Vail Village this Sunday from 4-7 p.m. to raise a glass to his life, share memories and raise money for the newly-established Rodney Davis Memorial Fund.

Davis’ body was identified outside of Loreto, Mexico, on Nov. 11 after he had been missing from his campsite on Juncalito Beach for nearly two weeks. Meryl Jacobs, Davis’ sister, said that they set up the memorial fund to help pay for retrieval of his personal effects, cremation, end-of-life expenses and legal and translation fees to represent his interests in Mexico. 

In addition to covering expenses related to his death, the fund will also finance the conversion of Davis’ camper at Rancho del Rio into a retreat called “Rod’s Place,” where friends can reserve a weekend and spend time in nature in memory of Davis and his dog, Rio.

“We’re going to turn it into a place for Rod and make it really nice inside, and any of his friends can go any weekend and stay there and sleep right on the river,” Jacobs said. “There are going to be flowers, and he loved hummingbirds, so the hummingbird feeders will be out. That’s one of the positive things we want to do in memory of Rod, is create this little haven and have it dedicated to him.”

Any remaining funds will be donated in Davis’ name to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to preserve the wildlife habitat that he loved.

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Jacobs said that progress continues to be made on the criminal investigation into the death of Davis. The FBI confirmed that local police in Mexico have arrested five people in relation to the case on counts of aggravated kidnapping and homicide. The head of a criminal group that has been active in the area and on police radar for years is the latest man arrested in the case.

Trial dates are pending, and information about the identities of the suspects, the nature of the crime, or the gang that the individuals are allegedly affiliated with has yet to be released.

“The encouraging thing is that they’re taking this very seriously,” Jacobs said. “They’re going to get these guys off the street, which to me is so encouraging because I was afraid they’d all walk.”

The FBI is expected to return Davis’ body to his family in the valley via Eagle County Regional Airport by early January.

Rio, the springer spaniel who was traveling with Davis at the time, has not been found.

Jacobs said that the gathering on Sunday is a casual affair that will emulate the many evenings that Davis spent at Vendetta’s with fellow ski patrollers, raising a glass after a long day on the mountain.

In addition to celebrating the life of Davis, the gathering will also include a toast to the life of Frank David Durkee Jr., another longtime local and close friend of Davis who died from cancer on Oct. 26.

The Rodney Davis Memorial Fund has been set up at the First Bank of Eagle. Donations can be made by Venmo @RodDavisMemorial2022, by check to P.O. Box 4390, Eagle, CO, 81631 or by direct transfer for First Bank members. For more information, contact Jacobs at mdj2145@gmail.com.


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