Professor Emeritus July 22, 1933 - April 29, 2013 A fifth generation Texan and child of the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl, Beth was born July 22, 1933, in Amarillo. She was the single child of Thelma Marie Smith and Thomas William Berry. In 1952, she married TJ Davis, who is deceased. During her World War II years as an Army brat, she lived in various locations in Texas and several states. At the age of 16, Beth graduated high school in Slaton after moving from one location to another. Subsequently she earned a B.A. degree from Angelo State University with double majors and as a member of the Honor Society, the local sorority Lambda Tau and listed in "Who's Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities." Texas Tech awarded her M.A. degree and she completed her education with a Ph.D. from Purdue University at the age of 44. In a span of 32 years she taught at Lee Junior High in San Angelo, Anderson High School in Austin, Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., and for 23 years at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, where she also served as chair of the communication department. In 1972, the Texas Speech Association honored her with the state Teacher of the Year award, followed in 1973, by the San Angelo Teacher of the Year award. Over the years of her marriage she lived first on a stock farm outside Miles and then as owner/operator of a motel in San Angelo. She was a member of Delta Kappa Gamma, AAUP, Beauceants Assembly #190 and Eastern Star Chapter #826 where she served as Worthy Matron. While living in West Lafayette, Ind., and then in St. Louis, she volunteered several years as counselor with Life Crisis organizations. For many years she taught Bible study classes at First Baptist Church in San Angelo as well as filling several other positions in the church. After relocating to the Austin area she had been a member of Hope Presbyterian Church and served as a Stephen minister. She has been a volunteer in various Hope activities including the choir and the Piecemakers quilting group. Retiring from her faculty position in St. Louis, she returned to live in Texas which she always regarded as her home. Beth was a Yellow Dog Democrat. Since her retirement she has published an autobiography as well as a memoir about her deceased fiance. She was blessed in giving birth to four children, all of whom survive her: Elizabeth Jan Baskin-Smith, Travis Jeffrey Davis, Mark William Davis and MeriJill Michele Davis. Jill has been a faithful and devoted companion and caregiver throughout her mother's final illness. Beth's grandchildren are Lindsey Lizabeth Todd, Kathryn Rae Davis, Timothy Christopher Seto and Heather Elizabeth Seto. Her great-grandson is Tristan Davis Todd. Our gratitude is extended to family, friends and the staff at Texas Oncology especially Cindy, Gloria, Dr. Teneriello, the chemotherapy nurses and other staff members. You are invited to bring your memories and share them at the celebration of her life to be held at 2 p.m. May 7, 2013, at Kindred Oaks, Georgetown, Texas. Since this is a joyful celebration, Beth requested that no one should be dressed in black and that there should be no floral gifts. Instead memorial gifts are requested to go to Mobile Loaves and Fishes; Habitat for Humanity; Heifer International; or Presbyterian Children's Home and Services. As she requested, in a private ceremony her family will scatter her ashes in the heart of Texas where wildflowers bloom each spring.
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Published in GoSanAngelo from May 5 to May 6, 2013