Martha McGlathery Davis
Born in New Orleans, LA on Jan. 16, 1933
Departed on Aug. 10, 2009 and resided in Waycross, GA
Visitation: No Visitation
Service: Saturday, Aug. 15, 2009
Martha Davis, a former longtime writer for the Waycross Journal-Herald and devoted volunteer in the community, died Sunday. She was 76.
A memorial service is scheduled at 10 a.m. Saturday at Grace Episcopal Church.
Davis moved to Waycross in 1977 when her husband, Jackson, took a job teaching deaf children in Nahunta. The plan was for Martha to also work in the public schools, continuing a teaching career of 16 years. But while teaching was convenient when Davis had four children at home, she had never felt cut out for the classroom.
She instead found work in 1978 at the Journal-Herald, where she stayed 25 years. "I've found my niche," Davis happily told her children.
The following year, two years after the family had moved to Waycross, Jackson Davis died at age 63. Martha stayed, making it her home.
She was active at her church, Grace Episcopal, and thoroughly enjoyed her newspaper work. She had what every reporter needs, a deep curiosity about other people and the world.
At the Journal-Herald, she covered civic meetings, served as church editor and wrote feature stories.
Davis saw reporting as a public service, a way of educating the public about the people and goings-on in their communities. She was also a stickler for grammar and spelling and the newspaper gave her an opportunity to put those skills to work.
Working in a newsroom was like returning home for Davis. She had worked summers during college at her hometown paper in Galveston, Texas, and it was there she met her husband, who was also a reporter. After their marriage she worked as society editor for a paper in Houston before changing to teaching.
Her husband meanwhile earned a Ph.D. in drama and alternated during his career between teaching speech and drama at colleges and teaching deaf children.
In addition to Texas, the couple and the children they had along the way lived in Kansas, Massachusetts, Illinois and Georgia, in the towns of Americus and Columbus before Waycross.
"We had fun," Davis said recently, summing up her family's adventures.
Davis was born in 1933 in New Orleans, La., the second child of Sam and Mary McGlathery. Her father was a civil engineer, her mother a Latin teacher.
The family moved to Galveston when Martha was a child. She graduated from high school at age 16 and won a scholarship to Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, where she graduated in 1953.
Later while in Columbus, Ga., she earned a master's degree in special education.
Davis retired from the Journal-Herald at age 70 and quickly began volunteering. She held officer positions in the local chapters of the AARP, Habitat for Humanity and the Ware County Democratic Committee. She was also active with the Garden Club and served as a volunteer at Satilla Regional Medical Center.
She brought to her volunteer work the same sense of service she had to newspaper work. A hospital staff member said Davis was not one to just point visitors in the right direction. She would walk with them to make sure they found where they were going.
Another friend recently recalled that once when Davis was at the hospital's front desk, she came across a young man with a sick child who needed a ride home to another county. She called friends of hers to get him help.
Davis was a loving mother and grandmother, frequently visiting her children and their families in the Chicago area and New Jersey. She loved hearing about their accomplishments and interests.
They especially loved when she read their children's books aloud to them, for she was a natural storyteller who read with great expression.
In addition to her husband, Davis is predeceased by her second child, Dylan. She is survived by her brother, James McGlathery of Champaign, Ill., and Galveston; her children Gabrielle Davis, of Oak Park, Ill., Maia Davis of Montclair, N.J., and Derek Davis of Chicago, Ill; and three grandchildren, Zak Sheft, Daniel Chadwick and Julia Chadwick.
Arrangements are with Music Funeral Home.
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