Davy McReynolds, 90, died peacefully following a brief illness Monday, Nov. 11, 2013, at her home. She was born to a single mother and absentee father in rural Ohio. As the oldest girl, she took on caregiving responsibility for her younger siblings at an early age. She began her working life quite early and became Millersburg's only newspaper delivery girl. Despite having to work to support the family, she managed to excel academically. She was the drum major and starred in the class play. The work ethic and perseverance that carried her through the Depression never left her. Davy was the first in her family to complete college. She enrolled in The Ohio State University following high school, but had to interrupt her education for financial reasons. She enrolled in the Women's Air Corps (WAC) solely because of the promise of the G.I. Bill. She provided physical therapy to wounded veterans at a rehabilitation base in Kentucky. It was there that she met the love of her life, Robert "Mac" McReynolds at a dance. He was recovering from wounds incurred during his escape from internment in Switzerland. They were married six weeks after they met. Following their discharges, the couple completed their educations at Ohio State. The newly minted teachers headed west to California and stopped in Blythe to begin their careers. It was there that their eldest child, Cris was born. His selection of playmates, however (rattlesnakes and scorpions), prompted a move further westward. The next stop was West Covina, where Kevin and Ann were raised. Although Davy remained home with the children, she was able to perform her domestic duties while accommodating her innate drive to grow and learn. She learned to weave, paint, throw pottery and how to read and write the Russian language. Her voracious appetite for reading allowed her to amass an impressive library, from which friends and neighbors borrowed regularly. As the children progressed into middle and high school, Davy returned to work as a substitute teacher. What could be better than getting paid to embarrass your kids? Her charm, efficiency and sense of humor quickly made her the most requested sub, by both teachers and students. Her children were proud to have "the cool sub" for their mom. Although gracious and charming, she appreciated irreverence and irony. She dressed her two young sons as Fidel Castro and Nikita Kruschev for the elementary school Halloween parade. This happened to be during the Cuban missile crisis in a community known for its political and social conservatism (Where was CWS in those days?). She never pushed her children to excel in anything in particular and encouraged them to strive to be good at whatever they chose to do. Mac's early retirement from public education in 1979 permitted the couple to enjoy their remaining years in Arroyo Grande. They both worked intermittently as registration helpers at Cuesta College, where they quickly established themselves as unofficial ambassadors for the school ... and for Central Coast living in general. Their home soon became a hangout for anyone wanting spirited conversation, a game of Yahtzee, a book and (unless you were a Republican) a cocktail. Davy continued to offer this generous hospitality following Mac's death in 2001. Davy had a soft spot for the underdog. While a criminal trial juror, she was scolded by Judge Johnson for befriending the defendant during the noon recess. Having never forgotten the rigors of waitressing, she was a generous tipper. Those who served her in a variety of capacities were always considered her equals. Libraries and bookstores were her cathedrals. The pursuit of knowledge for its own sake was her passion. Her curiosity about ideas, places and the human condition was limitless. The family is grateful for all who enhanced Davy's life, especially her friends and neighbors at the Sunrise Terrace senior park. The compassionate care extended by Sandy Woods (caregiver extraordinaire), Dr. Thom (cardiologist) and Nurse Okerblom (Hospice) was outstanding. Davy is survived by sons Cris McReynolds (Pam) of La Honda, Calif.; Kevin McReynolds (Allyn) of San Luis Obispo; daughter, Ann Geiger (Art) of Vancouver, Wash.; grandchildren Matt Leslie, Scott McReynolds, Devon McReynolds and Morgan McReynolds; sisters Janet Mangin and Bear Dyson; and numerous nieces and nephews. No services are planned. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Braille Institute Library of Santa Barbara or KCBX Public Radio.
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Published in San Luis Obispo Tribune on Nov. 24, 2013