HAMILTON — Hugh Calvin Davidson, 92, of Hamilton, died of a broken heart on Dec. 29, 2020, at Discovery Care Centre. He joined his beloved wife Jane in heaven on the day that she was laid to rest — determined to be with her as their family celebrated her life.
Born to Ford and Edith Davidson on Jan. 19, 1928, in Grant, Nebraska, Hugh attended Perkins County High School, where he was a gifted athlete, excelling in football, track and basketball. Upon graduation in 1946, he served two years in the Navy as a “Seabee."
In 1948 he met Jane Stoughton. A beautiful high school girl from Claremont, New Hampshire, whom he instantly fell in love with on their first date — a blind date arranged by family. Letters that he exchanged with Jane after he returned home to Nebraska reveal their growing affection and plans for a future together.
Hugh enrolled in Colorado University at Boulder in 1949, where he majored in Geology and minored in Physical Education, joined the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity, and played fullback on the football team. The next summer he married the love of his life on July 18, 1950, in Claremont. The couple returned to Boulder until graduation, upon which he started his career in football.
Hugh’s first stop was Osborne, Kansas, where he taught high school P.E. and coached both football and basketball. His gridiron teams were conference champions both years of his tenure, catching the eye of his alma mater, who recruited him back to Boulder as head coach of the freshman team.
During their four years in Boulder, Hugh and Jane celebrated the Buffaloes' unprecedented Orange Bowl win and the birth of their oldest daughter, Niki, in 1957. The next year Hugh was offered an assistant coaching job at what was then known as Montana State University (now U of M). He would spend the next six years as the defensive backfield coach, receiving recognition as Defensive Secondary Coach of the Year by the American Football Coaches Association in 1961. During this time his daughters Toni and Jill were born. In 1963 Hugh was elevated to head coach, but after a few lackluster seasons, left coaching and moved his family back to Colorado in 1966.
Hugh went into restaurant management for a time, then tried his hand at insurance. But it wasn’t long before an old coaching friend asked him to join his defensive staff at Idaho State University in Pocatello, Idaho. In 1972 a former teammate from Colorado University, who was the new director of player personnel for the Denver Broncos, offered him a position as a professional scout. It was a dream job that turned into a lifelong career. And because he could live anywhere near an airport, he made one final move —back to Montana where he and Jane had many close friends, settling his family in Hamilton.
During his 30+ years with the Broncos, he spent most of the year on the road. From scouting the Northwest region, to becoming the Bronco’s head scout and flying across the country evaluating the top 100 prospects, Hugh did his part to build a successful Broncos team, culminating in six Super Bowl appearances — two of them wins.
Hugh and Jane poured themselves into the community they loved, volunteering and supporting a variety of worthy causes through the Elks Lodge, Kiwanis Club and their church.
Hugh will be remembered as a devoted husband. Loving father, father-in-law and grandfather. Trusted colleague. Coach. Friend.
Hugh is preceded in death by his wife, Jane, his parents, brother Verner, and sister Althea. He is survived by three daughters, Niki and husband Chuck Shonkwiler of Hamilton, Toni and husband Tony Rome of Eagle, Idaho, and Jill and husband Blake Robbins of Apple Valley, California; eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren; in-laws, nieces and nephews across the country.
A celebration of his life will be held during the summer of 2021 when all of the family can attend. A notice of which will be forthcoming. You can read Hugh’s full obituary at dalyleachchapel.com.
The family would like to express their gratitude to the staffs of Discovery Care Centre and Hamilton Assisted Living and Memory Care for their compassionate care of Hugh and his beloved Jane. They suggest that memorials be made to the following:
Grizzly Scholarship Association
Adam’s Center 139
32 Campus Drive, Stop 8568
Missoula, MT 59812-8568
Bitterroot Valley Kiwanis Club
612 N. 1st St., Suite 2-417
Hamilton, MT 59840