A Look at the Life of Janell Davis
[Editing and photo by Lane Bond, for the Fiftieth Anniversary celebration of the Big Spring High School Class of 1952]
Janell Wood married Harold L. Davis of Denton TX on the “Bride and Groom” radio show in Hollywood in 1947. Then she taught speech and coached the debate team at Big Spring High School for five years. The Marines snatched Harold away in 1951 (and Janell with him, of course). She was therefore not here during our senior year, but she taught and coached many of us in our sophomore and junior years.
Janell and Harold hold their children and grandchildren dearer than their impressive public careers. Their son Alan is a CPA and controller of an engineering firm. He attended SMU (played football there) and graduated from Texas Tech. He and his wife, the former Mary Gooch live in Abilene, her native city, with their two daughters Rebecca and Claire.
Their daughter Chris also graduated from Texas Tech. She married Bob Manis of Mineral Wells, Texas, and they currently live in Aledo, a few miles from Mineral Wells west of Fort Worth. She has taught school for over 21 years. They have a daughter, Lesha, and a son Matthew.
A daughter Nancy Loraine Davis lived only a short time after her birth.
Janell was Salutatorian of the Class of 1943, Paducah, Texas. She graduated with highest honors in 1947 from the University of North Texas. She earned her Master of Arts in 1949. Later she has had continuing education in real estate and computers at Howard College.
She was president of her Kappa Theta Pi chapter at North Texas; was a championship debater, co-authored a book of poetry titled Half and Half, was president of the Inter-sorority Council, acted in one-act plays, was listed in Who's Who in American Universities and Colleges. I vote that we rate her as an “A” student.
In business, she also excelled, selling with Reeder Realtors for five years, was co-owner for ten years of Sun Country Realtors, Inc., was president and treasurer of the local Board of Realtors and a member of the National Board of Realtors. She is a graduate of the Realtor Institute and a Certified Resident Specialist. She has sold for Coldwell-Banker for ten years.
Her current civic activities in Big Spring reflect varied interests, such as serving on the Better Big Spring Entrances Committee, serving on the executive board of the Heritage Museum, as President of the Big Spring Duplicate Bridge Club, and Publicity Chair of the Women's Golf Association.
Past civic activities of this busy lady include VP of the BS Chamber of Commerce, Co-Chair of the BS Bicentennial Committee, writer of a weekly column in the Big Spring Herald called “Town Crier”, re-organized and re-juvenated the Friends of the Library, originated amphitheater “Starlight Specials”, served 9 years on the Planning and Zoning Board, Co-chair of the Women's Division of the United Way, Centennial Committee, charter member of the BS Education Employees Federal Credit Union, initiated the organization of the Heritage Museum, has been president of the board of that museum, was president of the Big Spring Little Theater, task force leader of Better Big Spring, chairman of the Cultural Affairs Committee, and when Webb AFB was here, served on the Base-Community Relations Steering Committee.
She has served in the First Baptist Church of Big Spring as Outreach Leader for the Chapel Class and teacher of sixteen-year-old girls. She has served that church on the Finance, By-Laws, and Centennial Celebration Committees.
Her community has honored her as Big Spring Woman of the Year (only the second chosen), as honoree of Outstanding Young Women of America, as Woman of the year of the American Business Club, as Outstanding Citizen (American Legion of BS), as a recipient of the Mayor's Commendation of the City of Big Spring, and as the first woman officer of Big Spring Chamber of Commerce.
Janell and Harold have given back to the community in many ways, including frequent donations to further athletics and debate at the University of North Texas, a major grant to Howard College, trust gifts to the First Baptist Church of Big Spring, and donations to many local charitable causes.
Harold Davis did not teach us in High School, but we knew him as the basketball coach at Howard College, and some went on from High School to play under his coaching at Howard.
He deserves a book of his own to recount his life accomplishments. To this group, his greatest accomplishment was marrying our “teach”, and supporting her as she was supporting us.
He retired in 1992 as Chairman of the Board and CEO of Gamco Industries, Inc, after 32 years of service. He was head coach and associate professor of the University of Texas at El Paso. He has served a director of a multitude of business, governmental, and charitable institutions.
Howard College, where he serves as a member of the board, named their new Physical Education Building the HAROLD DAVIS FITNESS CENTER. The college inducted him into their Hall of Fame, and the Texas Junior College Basketball Coach's Hall of Fame also received him. The Chamber of Commerce selected him as their “Man of the Year”, Dorothy Garrett and Rotary International named him a Paul Harris Fellow.
Colonel Harold Davis (USMC Ret.) received the Silver Star and Purple Heart for service and wounds on Iwo Jima, served five years in World War II and Korea, among other responsibilities during 33 years of active and reserve duty.