Durango resident Bessie Marian Davis died Sunday, Aug. 19, 2012, at her home. She was 86.
Mrs. Davis was born April 5, 1926, in Columbia, S.C., to Walter Eugene and Annie Belle Elizabeth (Harrison) Harris. She was the youngest of six children and graduated from Columbia High School.
She met her future husband, George Davis, in Sunday school while he was stationed at Fort Jackson during World War II. On June 30, 1943, the couple married in Columbia.
In 1948, the family moved to Mr. Davis’ home community of Falfa, a town on the Florida Mesa that no longer exists, moving in 1955 to a property near the Florida River. Mrs. Davis read to the children by the light of a kerosene lantern until indoor plumbing and electricity were added several years later.
She worked at the local Coca-Cola bottling plant, Mercy Hospital and Grants and Montgomery Ward department stores. Mrs. Davis retired in 1973.
She served as a leader of Juvenile Grange, and she and her husband were active Florida Mesa Grange members. She taught Sunday school at the Florida Presbyterian Church.
Beginning in January 2003, she had a series of strokes. Mrs. Davis lived with her daughter Elizabeth Reid and her family in Pagosa Springs until 2005, when her daughter Melba Ann Davis retired so she could take care of her mother. Mrs. Davis was able to move back into her home.
Mrs. Davis was the Colorado State Whistling Champion in the early 1970s and was known for whistling at Grant’s and Ward’s. She also enjoyed gardening, sewing, crocheting, taking Polaroid photos of her friends and family and making ojos de Dios.
“She loved traveling,” her family said, “and her first name should have been ‘Go.’ Throughout her life, she would pack up all five kids and drive the 2,000 miles to visit her family in South Carolina.”
Mrs. Davis was preceded in death by her husband of 58 years, George Davis, in November 2001.
She is survived by her children Melba Ann Davis, George E. Davis Jr. and Robbie Davis, all of Durango, Elizabeth K. Reid of Pagosa Springs and Barbara Lee Glass of Monte Vista; sister Elizabeth Harris Larson of West Columbia, S.C.; brother Archibald Thomas Harris of Round Lake, Ill.; nine grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
A funeral will take place at 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 25, 2012, at Hood Mortuary Chapel, 1261 East Third Ave. Burial will occur at Florida Cemetery, near the intersection of County Roads 223 and 228.