Speed Reads

It wasn't all bad

94-year-old installs pool in his backyard for the neighborhood kids

Keith Davison turned his grief into a gift for the children in his Morris, Minnesota, neighborhood.

The 94-year-old retired judge's wife of 66 years, Evy, died from cancer in April 2016, and his life changed in an instant — he became lonely and accustomed to the silence. "You cry a lot," he told WXIA. "That's just the way it is, because she's not here." While he has three adult children, Davison doesn't have any grandchildren, and he came up with a way to ensure he'd have plenty of guests, at least during the summer months: He'd install a pool in his backyard, open to all the kids in the neighborhood.

At first, his neighbors thought he was kidding, but once the in-ground pool was built, they knew he was serious. The town doesn't have an outdoor public pool, and Davison's generosity ensures that every child on the block can spend their afternoons swimming and splashing. "It's him spreading joy throughout our neighborhood for these kids," neighbor Jessica Huebner told WXIA. Davison's only rule is that the kids are accompanied by a parent or grandparent while swimming. He said he swims when the pool is empty, and finds that having the happening spot on his street is a welcome distraction. Davison's wife is no longer with him, but as Huebner told him, he's got several new family members. "You kind of adopted our whole neighborhood of kids," she said. "These are your grandkids." Catherine Garcia