SPEARFISH | S.I. Davison Jr., a/k/a Slide Davison, a/k/a Dave Diamond, 77, died Monday, May 5, 2014, at his home in Spearfish.
Davison was born and raised in Howard, SD, and attended Howard Grade School and Howard Public High School. He was a member of several Howard Tiger championship athletic teams in both basketball and football. He was named to the All-Conference basketball team three years in a row. He also medaled in track and won two city golf championships.
After graduation, Davison attended Louisiana State University for two years. He played basketball with the Tigers in 1955 and 1956. He transferred to the University of Southern Mississippi, where he graduated with B.S. degrees in journalism and history. He also attended Northwest Missouri State University and received an M.A. in English Literature.
Davison changed his name to Dave Diamond when he joined KOIL Radio in Omaha in 1960. He became one of rock radio’s earliest stars. His broadcasting career took him from Lincoln-Omaha to Knoxville, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Denver, San Francisco and Los Angeles. His legendary radio show, “The Diamond Mine,” became one of the most popular and highest-rated shows in the history of San Francisco and Los Angeles. He lived in California for 20 years, and was active in television, movies, and the music business. He produced, wrote, and performed music for Columbia Records, Universal City Studios, 20th Century Fox, and Claridge Records. Through his publishing company, Black Hills Music, he was the publisher of the #1 song of 1967, “Incense and Peppermints.”
Dave finished his radio career as a late night personality at KFI in Los Angeles, the most powerful radio station in America. His talk show was heard all night throughout western America, Canada, Mexico, and Hawaii.
While working in Los Angeles, Dave attended UCLA and the University of Southern California. He graduated summa cum laude from USC with a master’s in fiction writing from the USC Professional Writing Program. He also has a PhD in holistic studies from Columbia Pacific University and an associate of arts degree in religious science from the Institute of Religious Science in Los Angeles. He spent the rest of his life studying the teachings of Paramahansa Yoganada.
Dr. Diamond had several books published and one play produced. He was the author of the popular SLADE western series. His short stories won several national prizes including the Midwest Fiction Prize awarded by the Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature at Michigan State University, a Negative Capability Fiction Prize from the University of South Alabama, and his poem, “Navigating the Migration,” won the Kansas State Poetry Contest. His play, “The Deals are Going Down,” had a long and successful run in Los Angeles. His last novel, “Cool Hand in a Hot Fire,” was released in 2004 by Fithian Press in California. In 2006, he was honored by Michigan State University with the Mark Twain Award for Distinguished Contributions to Midwestern Literature.
Dave retired from broadcasting in 1982 and taught at Buena Vista University where he was voted “Professor of the Year” in 1986, by the BVU student body. He then moved to Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa, where he was chairman to the communication department for eight years. He built a new radio station and founded MCTV, the Morningside cable TV station.
Dave spent his youth in the Black Hills of South Dakota and was happy to return to the place he loved the most when he accepted a faculty position at Black Hills State University. He taught journalism and broadcasting in the Department of Fine and Applied Arts for 17 years. He was instrumental in upgrading the radio station, KBHU-FM, increasing the enrollment of communication majors, and the founding of KBHU-TV. In 2006, he was voted Faculty Member of the Year by the student senate.
Dave was an Eagle Scout, and he served as a canoneer with the South Dakota National Guard, 147th Field Artillery, First Battalion, A Battery, during the Korean War, in 1953-54. He was transferred to the United States Army Reserve and served until November 1962, whereupon he received an honorable discharge from the United States Army.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Sid I. Davison Sr.; a sister, Claudia; and an infant brother, Mark. Sid and Imogene owned and published the Miner County Pioneer newspaper for 35 years in Howard, SD. His father, Sid, was very active in state and national politics. Surviving Dave in death are several special cousins: Heath and Stacie Thompson, Jean Leary, Jean England, Elizabeth Clark, Dakota Davison Pfeiffer, Nichole Leary, Mary Leary, Jean Marie Thompson, Robert Bruer, Rich Bruer, and Cindy Pfeiffer; and many special friends and students.
Memorial services will be at 3:30 p.m. Friday, June 6, at All Angels Episcopal Church in Spearfish, with a reception and Celebration of Life following at 5 p.m. at Killian’s Tavern in Spearfish.
Graveside services will be at 3 p.m. Saturday, June 7, at Graceland Cemetery in Howard, SD.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to scholarship funds at Black Hills State University, Michigan State University, Dakota State University, the University of Southern California, the University of Southern Mississippi, All Angels Episcopal Church, or the Self-Realization Fellowship of Los Angeles, California.
Arrangements are under the care of Fidler-Isburg Funeral Chapels and Crematory Service of Spearfish. Online condolences may be written at www.fidler-isburgfuneralchapels.com.