A father's love: Bringing Maine to Katie

Part Two

It's any parent's worst nightmare -- losing a child.

For Amarillo father, Mark Davis, that nightmare became a living reality when his daughter, Katie Davis, was killed in a car accident in July of 2011. Katie was only 21 years old when the accident happened, leaving behind her eight month-old daughter, Grace.

"She was a terrific mom. She was still breastfeeding when the accident happened," Mark told Pronews 7. "The truck just creamed the car, demolished the back end... which is directly where Katie was," he said tearfully as he recalled the accident.

Katie attended Amarillo College after graduating high school then transferred to Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas where she was going to school when the accident happened.

"She had a lot of friends," Mark said, "just had a great smile and everybody just kind of loved her. She was kind of undecided as to exactly what she was going to do but she was just 21, so kind of understandable really."

But Katie was sure about one thing: she'd always wanted to take a road trip up to Maine to visit family. Unfortunately, she never got the chance.

"There were a whole lot of things Katie wanted to do, Maine being one of them," he said. Katie and I used to do road trips, we just didn't ever quite find the time to get up there."

But Mark was determined to bring Maine to Katie... And he did. Mark and his family, including his brother Mike who lives in Maine, came together to search out, engrave and carry home a 3,000 pound granite boulder to use as Katie's headstone.

Mark told us there were "lots of nice rocks but this one was half buried halfway up a hill in the woods there. Mike got it loaded up in a trailer that he got and brought it to Virginia and I met him in Virginia to bring it the rest of the way. Kind of a last road trip, for Katie," he added.

The stone, engraved with the family name, will be set in Llano Cemetery where you can also find four much smaller words inscribed upon it: From Maine With Love.

"I think if Katie would've ever made it to Maine," Mark said, "there would have been a whole lot of people in Maine who loved her. Frankly, a lot of it was selfish," he added. "Because I was trying to find something to make myself feel better. Some days it's work and some days it doesn't, but I'm glad we did it. Buying her a stone here just didn't seem to fit."

Mark explains the journey and how, in spite of the difficulty of the task, it's kept him busy and for that, he's thankful.

"It's given me a purpose. I think once the stone is set, then the finality and the emptiness and the pain I think becomes harder to deal with," he added.

But not only did Mark lose his daughter, Grace, his granddaughter lost her mother.

"It's going to be tough for him to raise Grace. I plan to be there but I'm thinking down the road, college or this or that, for that matter if there's any reconstructive surgery Grace has to have," Mark said as he talked about the financial burden Grace and her father now face after the accident. "If Grace is anything like her mom, she's going to be terrific. I'm sorry she's not going to get to know Katie, but I want Grace to know how much Katie was loved," he added.

Call it a labor of love or a cross-country quest, the stone in Llano Cemetery and the words engraved in it -- From Maine With Love -- are as permanent as the mark Katie left on everyone's heart, especially her father's.

"The whole project has been described in different terms as a quest or in my case in the West Virginian mountains, an adventure, but we just thought it was a fitting tribute for Katie," he said. "She deserves something special and we think we pulled it off."

Mark also set up a benefit fund for Grace. If you want to donate, visit any Amarillo National Bank and give to the Katie Davis Memorial Fund for the Benefit of Grace Elizabeth.