After being married for 66 years, Keith Davison found it hard to deal with the heartbreak of losing his beloved wife Evy to cancer in April 2016. “You cry a lot,” the widower from Minnesota told KARE 11. “That’s just the way it is, because she’s not here.”
But instead of wallowing in his grief and loneliness, Keith, now 94, decided do start the healing process by doing something special for the kids in his neighborhood, according to People. This past spring, he decided to build an in-ground backyard pool at his home in Morris, Minnesota—and then offer an open invitation to all his neighbors to come take a dip anytime they wanted.
“I had a fairytale life, and after my wife died, that ended,” Keith told People. “You get used to having a person there to enjoy, and now this doggone place is just so quiet. The pool has been a diversion from that.”
Open since July, the 32-foot pool has been filled with the neighborhood kids playing and splashing in the water all summer long. Keith’s only requirement is that a parent or guardian be present when their children are in the pool. Plus, the parents offer Keith some much-needed adult company and conversation.
“He has just been an amazing neighbor and he just loves children,” Jaime Mundal, who lives four houses down from Davison with her children, told People. “He’s kind of adopted all of the neighborhood kids.”
While he continues to deal with the loss of his wife (he still keeps her watch on his nightstand because he can’t fathom the idea of putting it away), Keith says he’s happy to no longer be surrounded by silence, but he wishes Evy could see everyone having so much fun in their backyard. “I miss her every day,” Keith said. “She’s not here, and that’s the sad part—it’s been great, but it was just so good when she was here.”
Keith has three adult children, but no grandchildren. His remarkable gesture to the kids in his community has touched his neighbors deeply, and they want to do everything they can to keep his spirits up. “He put this in for us and our children, in return we can do more to visit with him. That’s what he wants, he wants to connect with the kids,” another neighbor, Jessica Huebner, told People. “His house is filled with life again.”