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Erma Davis, feisty mother of late singer John Denver

In 1997, Erma Deutschendorf Davis attended John Denver’s funeral with her son Ron Deutschendorf in Aurora, Colo. In 1997, Erma Deutschendorf Davis attended John Denver’s funeral with her son Ron Deutschendorf in Aurora, Colo. (Ed Andrieski/Associated Press)
By Virginia Culver
The Denver Post / January 21, 2010

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DENVER - Erma Deutschendorf Davis, mother of the late singer John Denver, died at an Aurora care facility Sunday. She was 87.

She had suffered health problems since a fall in November, said her son, Ron Deutschendorf.

Mrs. Davis, who had lived in the Denver suburb of Aurora for 30 years, had a recording of every song her late son performed. “You always make sure your mom has a copy of everything,’’ said her son, who lives in San Diego.

John Denver’s mother and father often went to his concerts, especially in other countries, giving them a chance for a trip.

“She was feisty and full of life,’’ said longtime friend Jody Fleck of Denver. “But you’d have to have an angel on your shoulder when you rode with her, because she liked to drive 90 miles an hour,’’ Fleck said.

She also loved pecan-roll candy bars and once bought $63 worth of them in Branson, Mo.

According to a Denver Post article, John Denver said in a birthday letter to his mother two months before he died in 1997: “I wouldn’t have been the man I am, nor would I sing the way I do, nor would I have written the songs without the influence and inspiration you have been to me. God bless the day you were born.’’

Denver, 53, died when the private plane he was piloting crashed in the sea off Monterey, Calif.

In addition to her son, she leaves eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, and her sister, Edna Bingham of Tulsa.