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Margaret Davis Fennell Judy, 87, was called to her heavenly home on Sunday, Oct. 13, 2013, after a short illness.
Born in Clyde on March 19, 1926, to Hampton and Lila Davis, she was the youngest of six children. Impoverished at birth with few opportunities available, the odds were against her for making anything very successful out of her life. But a chance meeting with America's first billionaire, auto magnate Henry Ford, changed her life irrevocably. She encountered Ford in high school, when he saw her present a musical reading of the 23rd Psalm during a chapel program at the Martha-Mary Chapel (now St. Anne's Catholic Church). Ford was impressed with her performance, and after the service he changed her life by offering to send her to business school. After graduating in May 1944 from Richmond Hill High School, she enrolled in Draughn's Business College in Savannah (now South University), where she received an award for outstanding work, along with a gold pin, certifying her typing proficiency. She completed the course in September 1945. In 1946, she married Robert L. Fennell of Pembroke. They had one child, Robert Jr. (Bobby/Bob) in July 1949. From 1944 through 1952, she served as secretary to Ford, continuing for the next 30 years as secretary and bookkeeper for the International Paper Co. A charter member of Richmond Hill Baptist Church, she served in many volunteer positions including secretary, church clerk, Sunday school teacher and choir member. She also participated in the Richmond Hill High School PTA and volunteered for many years at the Richmond Hill Historical Society. In her younger years, she loved to dance. She and Robert entered and won many jitterbug contests. Her proudest moment was at the 1948 Presidential Ball held at the Desoto Hotel in Savannah, where they won first prize. Later in life, she served as the grand marshal of the 2007 Richmond Hill Christmas Parade and was proclaimed a Hometown Hero by WTOC News that same year. She was recently in the process of publishing her autobiography, "Little Did I Know." Filled with colorful stories and entertaining anecdotes about growing up in the South during the 1930s and '40s, this delightful book tells an interesting and charming story of how, sometimes, one can be at the right place at the right time. She loved music, needlework, canning vegetables from her own garden and cooking delicious meals for her family. She also loved animals, none more than Lila, Bob's beloved cocker spaniel, who was undoubtedly her second favorite "child." While she had two life partners -- her first husband of 38 years, Robert, and then Leon Judy, whom she married in 1988 -- she was devoted to her son, Bob, who often remarked that his mother had a beautiful singing voice and was "truly gorgeous," and that she would always be the "No. 1 love of his life."
She was preceded in death by her parents, Hamp and Lila Davis; her first husband, Robert L. Fennell; and her second husband, Leon Judy; and four of her five siblings, Jake Davis, Clennie Davis Moore, Anne Davis Young and Jasper Davis.
She is survived by her son, Robert L. Fennell Jr.; her sister, Mattie Davis Cannon; several devoted nieces and nephews; and her beloved pet, Lila.
A memorial service is at 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19, at Carter Funeral Home Bryan Chapel in Richmond Hill.
Visitation is two hours prior to the service at the funeral home.
In lieu of flowers, please send any special stories you have about Margaret to Bob Fennell, P.O. Box 1, Richmond Hill, Ga., 31324, or to firstname.lastname@example.org. Online condolences can be made at www.carterbryanchapel.com.
Arrangements are by Carter Funeral Home Bryan Chapel of Richmond Hill.
Carter Funeral Home - Bryan Chapel
10512 Ford Avenue PO Box 1717 Richmond Hill, GA 31324
Published in BryanCountyNews from Oct. 15 to Oct. 22, 2013