The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Sunday Profile

July 29, 2012

Bev Davis

BAF fund established in memory of newspaper’s Life 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

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