The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

July 29, 2012

Bev Davis

BAF fund established in memory of newspaper’s Life editor


— The Bev Davis Memorial Fund was formally established at the Beckley Area Foundation in March 2012. The first grant from this fund will be made in the spring of 2013.  

While Bev Davis was a self-sufficient, independent woman, she recognized that there were times when individuals living alone, without another wage earner in the home, might encounter unexpected financial difficulties. It was her wish to establish a fund that could benefit employed single women with financial help for one-time unexpected expenses. Examples of the types of expenses that might be covered include lightning damage to home appliances, certain car repairs, insurance deductibles or replacement of a water heater sooner than its customary life expectancy.

Her close friend Karen Kostol commented, “Bev was interested in assisting single working women cover the types of unexpected expenses which are difficult for those on a tight budget to cover.”

A committee comprised of staff and some members of the United Methodist Temple located in Beckley will evaluate requests for eligibility and select recipients while adhering to the conflict of interest policies of the Beckley Area Foundation, the Council of Foundations and the Internal Revenue Service. Bev was an active member of the United Methodist Temple.

Recipients of the grant must live and work in Raleigh County or the southern part of Fayette County.

Anyone may make additional donations in any amount by sending checks made out to BAF-Bev Davis Memorial Fund, and mailing them to Beckley Area Foundation, 129 Main St., Suite 203, Beckley, WV  25801.    



Our words

Friends and co-workers remember Bev


Bev and I worked together for many years and JoAnn and I always considered her a dear family friend. She was a devoted and caring employee.

 Bev would stroll over to my office on occasion and talk about the world, our state, community, religion, the newspaper business or whatever would be on her mind at the time.

She had a way with a pen that always enthralled the reader. Her weekly column attracted many readers who became loyal supporters of her Saturday article. People would tell me that she inspired them, made them laugh, sometimes cry, but her words of wisdom always made them reflect on life.  

Sometimes, in passing I would comment on something in one of her columns and she would say, with a grin, that she put that in just to see if I was reading her work. Like her many cohorts, I read her work faithfully and now I miss our friendly chats.

Frank Wood

Publisher

 

“Days they pass so

quickly now,

nights are seldom long,

time around me whispers when it’s cold ...”

— Poems, Prayers and Promises (John Denver)

When I hear those lyrics, I marvel at how fast life passes by. Has it really been 10 years and eight years respectively since my dad and mother have been gone? Can two years possibly have passed since we got the stunning news that Bev passed?

Wasn’t it just yesterday that she sat on my office couch and told me a funny story about her bunny, about the night she woke to find a raccoon staring back at her from her dresser or about the mice who liked to build nests under her car hood?

Can it be that long since she confided to me that living alone, her greatest fear was falling or becoming ill and not being able to call for help?

Yes, it has been that long and I still haven’t been able to bring myself to delete her number from my cell phone. She might find that ironic since we mostly did all of our talking face to face.

I fear I took Bev for granted when she was with us. You know how it goes with someone you see every workday — you nod, say a quick hi and go on with your day. For the longest time after her passing, every time I walked by her cubicle and she wasn’t there, I was surprised all over again.

I edited her column each week, most times just checking spelling, grammar and the like without every really stopping to think about what she had written. But for some reason, her last column resonated with me as I read it. And it stuck with me.

When we found out on Sunday that she had passed, the thought crossed my mind that even though she had not mentioned feeling unwell, maybe somewhere in her soul, she knew she would be leaving us soon.

And these were her words of comfort to us.

Bev, I miss our talks, the jokes we shared, the tales of our pets, our lives outside the paper, the struggles of being a single woman on her own.

I’m sure you are looking down, smiling at the thought of your legacy that will help people like us.

Dawn Dayton

Managing editor

 



It is hard to believe that two years have passed since Bev Davis died.

Every Saturday since before I started working at The Register-Herald 12 years ago, Bev had a column on Saturday’s Faith & Values page called Inside Out.

That weekend, I had torn that page out of the paper to keep, and I wanted to send her an e-mail telling her how much that week’s column meant to me. I’d wanted the little note to be waiting for her when she got to work that Monday morning ...

A lot of her columns were like that, touching. It was not unusual to answer a phone at the newspaper and find someone on the other end of the line who wanted to talk to Bev, wanted to let her know how much they loved her writing.

That last column she wrote was called “Poor me, ain’t got nobody but the Lord.”

In it, she reflected on the difficulties of keeping up with a yard in the summer. But she quickly transitioned to counting her blessings for her home and yard, moving on to the opportunities that came with family, friends and church.

That Friday was not a particularly good day for me. I was petty and feeling sorry for myself. But while I was proof-reading her column that evening, I found it hard to keep my pity party going.

I couldn’t shake the column. In typical Bev fashion, the last line stayed with me the rest of the evening.  “I ain’t got nobody but the Lord helping me — and He’s got it all under control.”

Her columns were like that. Lovely little stories to draw you in and then she would slip in a gentle lesson about being kind or giving people the benefit of the doubt or looking at the bright side of things.

We still miss Bev at The Register-Herald, just as I’m sure her family and friends do. But I believe Bev was happy to enter the Kingdom of Heaven and be reunited with her beloved parents.

Bev was a Godly woman, but she never beat you over the head with a religious club. She simply lived her faith day to day. Bev showed me Christians were just like other people ... they, too, got sad, hurt, tired or upset ... but then she would sigh, say a little prayer and perk right up. Determined to do better.

I start work at 3 p.m. each day; Bev was usually leaving about then. She would often stop by my desk on her way out for a few minutes and we would talk. We did that for most of the 10 years we worked together.

We would share woes and laughs. She would tell me sometimes she was on her way home to pray about something. She was determined to not only find a way to make things work, but to learn a lesson from it, whatever “it” might have been that day.

I’ve lost count of the times she would tell me to keep my chin up or I’d say, as she was leaving, “Be brave, Little Soldier.” She’d chuckle and start humming “Onward Christian Soldiers” as she headed out the door.

That was Bev in a nutshell.

Take a difficulty and turn it around. She had a great sense of humor and I’m sure, even in this, Bev would have found a lesson. It might have taken her a little longer than usual to get there, but she would have found it.

I admired Bev’s spirit. If anyone got bad news, Bev was right there to offer help. If we got good news, she was right there, ready to congratulate us. She was kind and decent, always looking for the best in people. She delighted in finding ways to help them, preferably without being noticed.

To me, she represented the kind of Christian I had wanted to be if I hadn’t lost my own way years and years ago. The kind of Christian there doesn’t seem to be enough of.

She turned the other cheek so many times. She would shrug and smile and tell me she would pray for both of them; the one in pain or who had hurt her, as well as herself. How often I heard her say they could have problems she didn’t know about. That there had to be goodness in them and she just had to look harder for it. She’d say she was going to ask God to help her find a way to help them.

Bev seemed certain everything happened for a reason, and if she didn’t know what it was, that was OK, God knew. All she had to do was keep the faith.

Mary Stillwell

Assistant managing editor

 



I will always remember how truly intelligent Bev was. Not only about religion and journalism and just about everything else, but how truly intuitive she was when it came to knowing people. Bev had a huge heart for caring and she demonstrated mercy and compassion toward everyone. Even when I left the newspaper for a time, she would regularly schedule lunches with me, just to see how I was doing and to talk about what we were reading at the time and about where life was taking us.

Bev was an encourager and she wasn’t afraid to point out what most pastors call our “stinking thinking.” She put all of herself into her writing, always with her readers in mind. She was optimistic about what she felt God had in store for her and she used her attitude to influence others positively.

I recall being at her funeral and marveling at all the people gathered there whose lives she had touched in some measure. It was a profound moment to see the many who came to pay tribute to one of the most well-respected individuals I have ever known.

Lisa Shrewsberry

Lifestyles editor

 



“You are my friend and I love working with you.  Thank you for giving and touching so many lives including my own.  Your assistance in our products and shows is greatly appreciated and without your role in them, they would not be as successful.  The changes you make and the ideas you come up with are awesome.  I’m glad you stop by in the mornings to say hi and smile.  I’m sorry that I haven’t been more aware or available.  I hope you never leave us and I will always consider you my sister in Christ.”

My prayer nowadays are that I don’t take advantage of these opportunities we have each and everyday to make a difference in the life of someone else.  I want to smile more, love more, care more, share more, and most of all tell others more often how important they are to me.  And that is why I am sending this to you.  

I love you and consider you one of my dearest friends.  I am sorry if I have ever let you down or upset you.  I hope we are together for many years to come; but if we are not, I want you to know how I feel so I can say I never missed the opportunities I am blessed with each and every day.

Chuck Jessup

Register-Herald advertising director.

 in a letter he wrote to Bev after her death.

 



When I came to work as a reporter at The Register-Herald in January 1997, Bev was one of the first people who introduced herself and immediately invited to attend her church. After that she was a mentor to me and often took time to read my stories and give me feedback or writing tips. This was really helpful in my professional development as a writer. If I had a problem she would offer advice. When I needed to find a new family physician, she suggested someone for me. I could see she really cared about other people and was a good Christian.  

Bill Lucas

Register-Herald copy editor

 



No one knew, bet not even her; the magnitude of people that she touched, whether it was through her columns, her words on the phone, interviews, meeting her out in public or in the office or at the churches she attended. I know she touched my life. To compound all my memories and stories to share into one, I can not do.

To say Bev Davis was a friend is an understatement. Bev was my friend, my confidant, my prayer warrior and so much more ... more like family. She was right there the first thing, no matter what time I arrived to work, just so I could give her the highlights of my evening or day, and ask for prayer.

She was used to that. Often before I could spit it out, she’d say “OK Pam, what do I need to pray about today.” Her words of encouragement were often needed and accepted.

Now, grant you Bev and I were not always this way. And I would never say she was a saint; she wouldn’t want that. As co-workers, as friends, we learned from each other.

There was one instance when I had to corner her and be very blunt; she accepted with meekness. When most would have taken offense, Bev took it as a lesson she most definitely overcame.

I on the other end, not so close to the cross, learned from her, the meekness, the acceptance of knowing your faults and asking God to help. She strove daily to be what God wanted her to be, which is why she became close to everyone she met and those she didn’t meet; they became her friends.

Working beside each other was a blessing and often fun times that I shall never forget. I shall never forget the pleasure of knowing and being Bev Davis’ friend.

She was a advocate for family values, for single women, making a difference in their lives, the struggles, the lessons, the valleys and the mountain tops we all go through. She lived it, witnessed it and helped others to work through theirs.

One of my cherished gifts came after discussing church and verses. I relayed to Bev when I was married and in church, I carried my husband’s Bible, I didn’t have one of my own. On my birthday I received a Bible with my name inscribed and a nice Bible cover from Bev. That meant more to me than anything someone could have gotten me and brought tears to my eyes. This is my very own Bible, from a dear friend who I shall never forget all that we shared. Do I miss her. You would never know just how much I do.

Right now, Bev would be praising God, for some of the problems she prayed about, have came about in a way she would have wanted. Thanks Bev of your many prayers, your many blessings you bestowed upon me and my family. I love you!

Pam Payne

Obituary Clerk

 



Bev was a very dedicated and hard worker who was always looking for stories that would offer people help. I went on many assignments with Bev and I saw her concern to help people and she did this with every story she wrote. The newspaper was Bev’s ministry. She always felt God placed her at the newspaper to get His word across and to help people. I truly miss hearing her voice in the morning and going out on assignments with her. Watching Bev’s love for her job and the people she interviewed always made me give 110 percent to all her assignments. Bev definitely helped me to be a better person and photographer.

Rick Barbero

Register-Herald photographer