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Mary Davis: Two Decades of Service

By Janie Eberly

As part of Troy Literacy's 50th year celebration, we want to spend some time paying tribute to our founders, long time members, and retired officers who have given so freely of themselves to their community. It is our honor to introduce Mary Davis.

Mary Davis became a member of Troy Literacy Council in 2002. She continued to serve until June of 2021, for a total of 19 years. She held numerous offices on the Board including President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and Tutor Trainer and Coordinator. Even when she no longer held an office on the Board, Mary would attend the meetings, offering her ideas and excellent advice.

While serving on the Board, Mary helped with the special anniversary celebrations held over the past 50 years. She also helped gather documents together to get them housed in the Troy History Library. As well as serving on the Board, Mary tutored numerous students over the years, developing a close relationship with several.

Mary shared some of her memories of working with students with me. She worked with her first student, Julia, to help her become a U.S. citizen. Mary and her husband took her to Cincinnati to take the test, which she passed. Unfortunately, she did not get to go to the ceremony where Julia received her citizenship because of family plans. Mary continued tutoring Julia, seeing her receive a degree in graphic arts from Sinclair. Mary remains in contact with Julia and her daughter.

Another student came to Troy Literacy not being able to read a kindergarten book. Her goal was to be able to read the Christmas story from the Bible to her family. Mary practiced that story with her a “million” times until she practically had it memorized, and she did read it for her family at Christmas. She reported to Mary that there wasn’t a dry eye when she finished. Mary worked with this student for 9 years, and the student was reading at a fifth-grade level when Covid came along. She was able to read cookbooks and ingredients on food packages, so she was happy.

Mary worked with two Japanese students, Miho and Mai, for four to five years. The three had a lot of gatherings of just walking, talking, and/or cooking because they wanted to improve their pronunciation and use of English in speaking. Both young women liked to play the piano, so they played piano duets, with Mary on the accordion. Along with their families, Miho and Mai visited Mary’s family farm and enjoyed rides on the combine. Both women are back in Japan, and Mary frequently communicates with them by e-mail. Mary worked with several other students for a short time, who, for one reason or another, did not want to continue.

Mary thanks all the present and past officers for keeping Troy Literacy in operation, especially during Covid. She feels that the community needs the service Troy Literacy provides. Mary Davis, with her passion and knowledge in literacy, most definitely provided that needed service during the past 19 years she was a member of Troy Literacy.

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