Cecil Davis was born at Baptist Hospital in Nashville, Tennessee. He lived for a short time in east Nashville before spending his teen years in Hermitage. Hermitage would become his longtime home. As a matter of fact, the house in which Cecil and Lawanda resided on Brandeau Road was the same house he lived in as a teen. Except for the first eleven years of their marriage, Cecil lived in this house since 1950.
Cecil was a hard working, persevering man. After high school he joined the Air Force Reserve and soon began to work for K-Mart Grocery as an assistant manager. He didn’t want to move from Hermitage so he declined a promotion which involved a transfer. This led him to work for Ford Glass. From there he moved to his longtime work with the railroad. When he first began with the railroad he had to be away from home often, which he didn’t like. So when he began working for the Radnor Rail Yard, he found a place and work he enjoyed for almost 28 years before retiring. He worked hard. Sometimes he would be chided by his co-workers for working too hard, fearing he made them look bad. He would stand in the rain linking trains while others huddled under roofs waiting out the rain. He wasn’t proving anything, that was simply who he was, a dependable worker.
After retirement he and Lawanda would jokingly say he had become the homemaker. He would raise a big, beautiful and fruitful garden as well as take care of things around the house. When Lawanda would bring up the thought of her own retirement he would respond, “There isn’t enough work for two people around here.” Cecil and Lawanda had a great relationship. Their 47 years of marriage have been a blessing to the community, church, and their own family. The Davis’ are loved and respected by their neighbors. When their children were young, the youth group was at their house many times a week year round. All the kids knew they were always welcome and all their parents knew they were at a wonderful Christian home.
His children, Gary and Valerie, know they were blessed tremendously with a father whose love and care was evident every day of their lives. They explained that hardly a day goes by that they don’t benefit from something he taught them. Valerie still carries on his love for fishing and gardening which was taught to her by her father and shared with him so many times. Gary describes his father whose patience could rival Job’s saying, “from him I learned to be patient, slow down and obey.” Lawanda describes the love of her life by saying, “he taught me what it was to enjoy “true love,” not just emotion, but commitment, to faithfully be there for each other everyday, to think what the other is thinking before they ever say it.” Cecil was a very quiet man, but everyone in the family listened with great respect when he spoke. Valerie remembers on one occasion he said to her, “I am disappointed” in something she had done. Her world was shattered in those three words. He was loved deeply and highly respected even by those who knew him best. Cecil loved the Lord, His church, and his family.
Cecil Davis came into this world as a pair. His twin sister, Cecelia, and he remained close all through the years. As a young man he married Lawanda and they were an amazing pair, a faithful couple, successful parents, and perfect team. Then another pair came into their lives. Not twins, but two children; Gary and Valerie. But what made Cecil a great blessing in all this was his relationship with God. Cecil partnered his life with God. He was a faithful child of God. He wasn’t the type to be up front leading, but his good works and faithfulness could move mountains because of the One in which he partnered with, The Almighty.
Here is how Cecil was described recently: Quite man, kind, gentle, funny, hard worker, well respected, well loved, family oriented (loved to stay at home), loved family get-togethers, never raised his voice, very direct, when he spoke people listened, humble, calm, frugal, generous, reserved, and always at church. Even when he was so sick in recent days that he would not be able to attend church, every Wednesday and Sunday he would say, “Don’t guess we will get to go to church today.” If it were up to him, he would have, because that is what he had always done in the days of good health. It is powerful to see the life of a man who doesn’t have to change his thoughts and behavior when he finds out he is dying. That was the life of Cecil Davis. …written by David Shannon…