September 28, 1934 - March 13, 2022
Laura Louise Lambert Davis died peacefully on March 13, 2022, due to complications from Alzheimer’s. She was 87 years young. Laura, or “Tutu” as she was affectionately known, was born on September 28th, 1934, to Verna and Charles Lambert in Reading, Pennsylvania. From the start, Laura brought joy, compassion, grace, and her beautiful singing to everyone she met – family, friend, or passerby.
Laura grew up in West Chester, PA surrounded by a large loving extended family and especially enjoyed spending weekends at Willow Glenn with her Aunt Della and cousin Jim Plank collecting eggs, baking bread, and playing in the nearby creek. While in elementary school, Laura’s class wrote letters to pen pals in Holland during WWII. She shared letters, food and clothing with Baps and Jetty and continued corresponding with them well after each had married. Active in drama, choir, and field-hockey Laura graduated from West Chester High School in 1952. She went on to study Elementary Education at State Teachers College where she was a class officer, member of theatre and choir clubs and a Who’s Who 1956 graduate.
Laura met her sweetheart, Frederick Davis, in the summer of 1955 when he dropped off his sister, Fern, from their hometown in Illinois to meet up with her Chautauqua friend. Fred was on his way to Norfolk, Virginia for a temporary assignment to await Navy flight training in Pensacola, Florida. Five days later, Fred and Laura saw Fern off at the train station. Fred and Laura continued their long-distance dating until Fred couldn’t stand the commute any longer. He had been hitchhiking on military planes on the weekends so they could be together for a precious 24 hours or less. Fred and Laura married September 2, 1956, at West Chester United Methodist Church.
The newlyweds first lived in Corpus Christi, Texas, and then settled in Palo Alto, California during Fred’s Navy years. Laura delighted in making a home for them, teaching fourth graders, and singing in church and local choirs. All three children, Jim, Melora and Malcolm, were born in the Palo Alto area where Laura started their nightly read-aloud tradition. Laura’s animated voice along with the many classic stories fed the kids’ imaginations and creativity thru their high school years.
When Fred decided to become a college professor Laura treated this change as an adventure. While Fred attended graduate school at Michigan State, she made the apartment at Spartan Village’s married student housing a home complete with hand sewn red curtains. Laura typed dissertations to earn extra money; that’s when the children inadvertently learned about mimeograph paper, white-out and curse words.
In 1968 Laura and Fred moved their family to Athens, Ohio so Fred could teach Accounting at the nearby university. It wasn’t long before their home on Morris Avenue became the gathering place for neighborhood families, scouts, church choirs and random college students. Laura welcomed everyone-even the family dog, Bridget, left her former owners to live with Laura.
In 1979 Fred’s career brought them to Denton, Texas and it was here that Laura shined as the most-loved kindergarten teacher for over fifteen years. She used Byron the puppet and other forms of her magic to encourage, empower and teach hundreds of local children. She was also an elder, choir soloist and delivered Meals-on-Wheels at Trinity Presbyterian Church. Through the years Fred found unique teaching and work opportunities in Nigeria, New York City, Austin, and Switzerland – Laura joined him with her cheery, loving, and open approach to life.
It was in 1991 that Laura became everyone’s Tutu (Hawaiian for grandmother). She and Fred truly found paradise – he in teaching at Hawaii Pacific University and she by embracing the people, the culture, and the natural world of Kailua, Hawaii. For over twenty years they delighted in each other and all they could absorb about Hawaii. Tutu especially loved sharing the wonders of the Pacific Ocean, the Ko’olau mountains, Hawaiian food, art, and history, with her seven grandchildren. She sang with the Hawaiian Ecumenical Choir, served in several church choirs, and earned volunteer of the year at Castle Hospital by playing piano and founding the Teddy Bear Clinic. Tutu’s grandchildren share fond memories of cheering at local parades, making CCC’s, reading outside, at-home musicals, climbing shower trees at the nearby A-R-K and full moon rises from the beach. Tutu taught all of us to think positively, sing joyfully and to treat each other with grace.
In 2017 Laura and Fred moved to Dallas, Texas to be near family when she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. She continued singing in church choir, spending time with her grandchildren, and hugging her sweetheart. The Dallas Arboretum became her most favorite place – she got to know every bench along the promenade and taught us what it truly means to stop and smell the tulips.
Laura is survived by her sweetheart, Fred Davis; her three children, Jim (Laura), Melora, Malcolm; her seven grandchildren, Patrick (Emilee), Allie, Sarah, Harrison, McKenna (Jeremey), Evan and Conor; her brother Tom (Elaine) and many nieces, nephews, in-laws, and accumulated family members. The family especially appreciates Joy, Ellie, Beatrice, Nona and all the other loving caregivers at Jackson’s Place, which became her home the last few years.
Services have been postponed indefinitely. Please continue to check back for a rescheduled date.
In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate cards with “Tutu” memories, or a donation made in Laura’s memory to the Dallas Arboretum or the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Dallas Chapter or to the charity of your choice.