July 20, 2016 Edition

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Marie Davis was
WRHS's oldest
living graduate

John Bland
Publisher

Until her death on July 9, 2016, Marie Buchanan Davis, age 108, had the distinction of being the oldest living resident of Randolph County. Moreover, she was no doubt the oldest living graduate of Walnut Ridge High School as a member of the WRHS Class of 1925, graduating 91 years ago.

Marie was less than three weeks shy of her 109th birthday. STARS magazine in Pocahontas featured Marie at age 101 in a "Passing the Century Mark" story by Susan Johnson. The Pocahontas Star Herald reprinted highlights from that feature last week, stating that Marie was born on July 27, 1907, in Imboden. She spent her early years on a small farm in the Wyatt School settlement, which was probably in Randolph County.

After her father was injured in a farm accident, he began delivering mail on horseback between Ravenden and Ravenden Springs. During this time, her family resided at the Atkins Hotel in Ravenden Springs.

During Marie’s fourth-grade year, the family moved to Walnut Ridge. She graduated from Walnut Ridge High School in 1925. Four years later she married Sherman Davis, a Pocahontas barber, and they made their home in Pocahontas. Sherman died in 1967.

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Mrs. Davis is related to a few present and former Lawrence County residents. Anna Laura Long and Marilyn Chaney White, both of Walnut Ridge, are two of her first cousins. She was the niece of the late Pauline Buchanan Chaney, 104, of Walnut Ridge, who died on May 21, 2008. Mrs. Chaney was born Dec. 29, 1903, at Imboden, just four years prior to Marie.

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Marie was retired from Pocahontas Federal Savings and Loan. She was voted and featured in a statewide newspaper as "The Average Arkansan" in 1991, but she was anything but average. She was a devoted St. Louis Cardinals baseball fan. Just a few years ago, she moved into an assisted living facility, and just a few months ago to Randolph County Nursing Home.

Approximately two or three years ago, The TD worked with Marie in publishing and mailing copies of an extensive family history book. She had compiled the book and had it published for extended family members. Her mind was still sharp, and she was persistent in getting the job done.

Most notable about Marie was her pleasant and gracious disposition. She was well liked and highly regarded by all who knew her. In recent years, her birthday parties made regional news.

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