Frances Vernell (McDonald) Davis "Big Sister" was delivered by her aunt and Mid-Wife Lula (McDonald) Cook on June 10, 1934. She was the 5th child (daughter) of the Late Deacon Willie and Marie (Cloud) McDonald. Frances grew up in a hard-working, loving, and spiritual home with three other sisters and several cousins until her only baby Brother, Garfield "Big Brother" was born in 1942. The tenants of the family's value system were God and Church, education - love for learning, family, and a strong work ethic.
Frances' spiritual journey began at an early age with her baptism by Reverend Gordon at Good Aim Baptist Church in 1946. She received her early academic education at Shady Grove Elementary School, where her mother Marie was the PTA President. After their home burned down in 1944, the family and Frances moved to Blythewood, South Carolina, where she completed her secondary education. She graduated from Bethel High School in 1953 and enrolled in college. She was the first in the immediate McDonald family to attend college and she graduated from Benedict College in 1957. This feat served to inspire future generations of the family. Frances was gifted with "Brains" and "Beauty" as validated by her selection as both Miss Bethel High School in 1951 and Miss Benedict College in 1957.
Following graduation, Frances started her work career at Crafts Farrow Mental Health facility from 1957-1958. She then transitioned to the school system and spent the remainder of her work career as an educator in various school systems and agencies in Georgia and South Carolina. Frances retired from Midlands Center on June 30, 1994, after 24 years of service and Babcock Center on January 30, 2004, after 14 years’ service.
She met Dean John Milton Davis, a tall, charismatic, intellectual Man with an irresistible baritone voice and shortly thereafter, they were married on June 12, 1960, at Round Top Baptist Church. They welcomed their first child, Katrina Sharon in November 1961. Shortly, thereafter they relocated to John's hometown of Beaufort, South Carolina, where they both taught in the Beaufort and Savannah School Systems from 1962 until 1969. Their second daughter, Sylvia Franjon was born in December 1963 and Nelton Wilham followed in July 1969 just before the family relocated back to Columbia, South Carolina and built their home.
John died September 5, 1975, leaving Frances to raise their three young children. Frances, although a relatively young woman never married again after the early loss of her beloved husband John. She worked hard and became totally committed to raising and educating her children. She retired from her education career after ensuring and supporting all three of her children to complete college, including advanced degrees. She studied cosmetology and received her licenses in 1984.
After retirement she joined several clubs Greenview Fitness Club, Greenview Senior Club, Blythewood Community Ladies, Ladies of Leisure (Hyatt Park), Friendly Ladies (Fort Jackson), AARP Club, Good Aim Missionary Baptist Missionary Ministry, Good Aim Missionary Baptist Sisterhood Ministry, St. Anna’s Club, Salvation Army Club, Bethel Hanberry Athletic Alumni Association (BHAAS) and State Park Community Club which kept her very busy.
Frances was always a quiet, kind and mild-mannered person of strong faith and character. June is a special month for Frances. As with the circle of life, the beginning and ending are the same point. Today we celebrate her birth and also celebrate her life
She leaves to cherish her precious memory two daughters, Katrina Davis, Sylvia (Henry) Flint; one son Nelton (VaShette) Davis, grandchildren, as well as a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and caring friends; all of whom will miss her dearly.
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