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Billie Clare Davis


1923 - 2019
Billie Clare Davis Obituary
Billie Clare Davis

Springfield, Mo. - Dr. Billie Clare Davis was born April 18, 1923, in Grants Pass, Ore. She passed away in her home in Springfield, Missouri, August 3, 2019.

The eldest of John and Daisy Crawford's nine children, she lived her growing years as part of the migrant stream that picked crops from the West Coast to the Midwest. Although the family moved frequently, in every community Billie sought out three institutions that gave her stability and set the course for her life: the church, the school, and the public library.

Billie was ordained a minister with the Assemblies of God in 1950. With her husband, George H. Davis, she served as a missionary to the countries of Central and South America and the West Indies. She was a graduate of Drury University, Springfield, and she earned her Ed.D at the University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida. In 1976, Drury University named her a Distinguished Alumnus and in 1989, she received the University of Miami's Distinguished Alumnus Award for her contributions to migrant education.

From 1981 to 1992 Billie taught at Evangel University, Springfield, Missouri, serving as chair of the Behavioral Sciences Department. She founded the university's social work major and in 2018, the program was named for her. Upon her retirement, she was honored as professor emeritus.

Billie continued to teach as adjunct professor at the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary, Springfield, receiving the seminary's Pillar of Faith designation in 2014. She was appointed to the Springfield Mayor's Commission on Human Rights in 2008 and served two terms.

Billie was the author of five books and hundreds of articles. Her autobiographical article, "I Was a Hobo Kid," was first published by the Saturday Evening Post in December 1952. It was reprinted in the Reader's Digest and several anthologies. Her compelling story, paying tribute to the American public schools and the teachers who enriched her life, put her in demand as a public speaker at state and national teachers conferences. The National Education Association produced a film, "A Desk for Billie," that was seen by thousands of school children across America.

Billie was preceded in death by her husband, her parents, four brothers, and a sister. She is survived by her daughter, Gloria Greenlee, Bakersfield, Calif.; a brother, Jerry Reveal, Lake Okeechobee, Fl., a sister, Donna DesJardins, Elk Grove, Calif.; numerous nephews and nieces; and her friend and caregiver, Sylvia Lee, Springfield, Mo.

The family thanks Seasons Hospice, particularly Elizabeth, Megan, and Sharon, for their outstanding care of Billie over the past five months.

Billie's visitation is August 6, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Greenlawn North. The memorial service is August 7, at 10 a.m. at Central Assembly of God, 1301 N. Boonville Ave., Springfield, Mo.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Billie Davis social work scholarship, Evangel University, 1111 N. Glenstone Ave., Springfield, MO 65802.
Published in the News-Leader on Aug. 6, 2019
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