Ed. Note: In the early morning hours of Saturday, December 6, Taylor lost a talented former designer, Pete Davies Jr. Pete’s inlay artwork graces some of our most notable guitars, including the Living Jewels and Liberty Tree models. As a tribute to Pete and to honor his contributions to the company, Bob reflected on Pete and his family in the blog post below.
By Bob Taylor
I’d like to take a moment and tell you about the Davies family. The whole family worked at Taylor and contributed to who we are today. Pete Davies Sr. is a machinist and horseman. He worked for us machining tools and writing CNC programs to make your guitar neck fit perfectly in the body before retiring a few years ago. He also competes in long-distance equestrian races. He can stay on a horse for 100 miles or more, and his horses love him and go the distance. They have good eyes in the dark and let him sleep while they move along toward the goal. Pete is jockey size. His skin is tanned and toughened from years under our mountain skies. He laughs. Chuckles really, and he would stop by to say thanks for this and for that. His photo can be seen as you walk into our front office employee entrance. Oh, yes, he’s been struck by lightning. Twice! That’s the total truth.
Judy Davies laughs too. She sits atop a horse with the best of them. And she loves all things Taylor. She worked for us in a few capacities, most notably as the first person to develop our TaylorWare department. One time I made her a table out of a horse trough and huge timbers from a machine pallet. Judy loved it here. She and Pete would come to anything we did for fun at night, anything social, and anything that built relationships. Really good people. They live in the nearby mountains in a log cabin they built. There are horses and bright stars.
Their son, Pete Davies Jr., or PT, seemed to step right out of American Graffiti. They were a family of just three. Maybe PT didn’t roll up his T-shirt sleeve like Harrison Ford in the movie, but then again he might have. He liked drawing hot rods. I can’t remember if he was taller than his dad, but if so, not by much. His hair and sideburns were pure rockabilly. He laughed and was easy to get along with. Maybe we had to tell him what to do now and then, sit him down as a young man working here, but he would sit back down and draw things on paper and a computer. Good things. Inlay art is akin to tattoo art. PT had a flair for it and filled our manila folder with pages of options to inlay on guitars. Koi fish, sea turtles, hot rod art, and so on. Liberty Tree art. Wow. That one. We loved him. Portland called him, and he wanted to leave San Diego, so it was a happy send-off. Good kid. Good family. He went to live in the rain.
To say we’re a family at Taylor is no more obvious to us than it became Saturday, December 6, the day of our grand celebration for our 40th anniversary. Because that night, our people mingled in friendship, sharing a sense of accomplishment and pride, waiting to see a glimpse of Pete and Judy, who were certainly coming. That is until they got the call early that morning that PT had died in a motorcycle accident, not doing anything crazy, just an accident.
Usually I’m not speechless, but today, as I write this, I am.
As a tribute to PT, we’ve put together a gallery of some of his work at Taylor. Enjoy his work as you look at the examples of what he offered to Taylor through his art. Of course, here at work we remember him for much, much more than his art. We miss him, and we love Pete and Judy.