Bobby Davis, the Town of Payson’s economic director, couldn’t help but channel his alter ego, Buzz Lightyear.

“To infinity and beyond,” he said, stretching his arm above his head and placing his hand on his hip in the iconic Toy Story character’s move. Davis used to dress up as the Pixar character when he ran the Trunk or Treat Halloween blast.

In front of him, a cake with an image of him fully dressed up as Buzz waited for the party’s host to cut up and serve.

Davis said goodbye to his Town of Payson colleagues and Rim Country friends during his retirement party on July 24 — including the Mogollon Monster.

Davis told the crowd he used to wear the monster. At one Green Valley Park event, however, the Mogollon Monster almost got the best of him, mostly because it had a really scary face. The scary mask face set off some children — and their German shepherds.

“I tried to back off and fell over, so I took the head off,” said Davis. “Some ladies saw me and said, ‘Oh, it’s you!’”

The story got a lot of laughs, but laughter lit up the whole event with many telling stories about Davis.

The Community Development Office, where Davis had an office for the last five years, hosted the party, throwing open its doors to staff, past colleagues, co-volunteers and many, many friends.

Sheila DeSchaaf, assistant town manager and public works director, surprised Davis with the Buzz Lightyear cake — to many laughs.

She also had high praise for Bobby.

“When Bobby Davis first started, we didn’t have an economic consortium,” she said.

DeSchaaf also credited Davis with putting together the town’s economic development plan, enhancing the website to make it more business friendly and personally meeting with business owners to introduce them to Payson.

“Part of (his job) was to have a relationship with local businesses,” she said.

On top of smoothing relations with local businesses, Davis also attended numerous conferences to make connections with businesses from outside Payson.

With his easy smile and Texas-twanged friendly drawl, Davis inspired a few businesses to set up shop in Payson.

Current businesses appreciated how Davis made the town more accessible. When new businesses attend the weekly Community Development meeting, they all praise Davis saying he made them feel welcome.

“We look a lot different than five years ago,” said DeSchaaf.

Davis said he’s looking forward to slowing down by going out for a real estate license.

One thing his friends and colleagues can be sure of, they will see him around town.

“I don’t plan on going anywhere,” he said.

Just don’t look for that Buzz Lightyear getup.

It’s been retired.

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I cover the Town of Payson, courts, wildfire, business, families, non-profits, the environment and investigative reporting

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