Virginia Howard Davis-Beck, 72, of Athens died after nearly a year long battle with pancreatic cancer in the early hours of Saturday, February 20, at her home. Her passing was peaceful and in the presence of her sons Lee and Phil Davis and her husband of 37 years, E.M. "Woody" Beck.
Ms. Davis-Beck, known to all as "Ginger", was born in Albany, Georgia and graduated from Albany High School in 1966. She received a BA in History from Georgia Southwestern University in 1970 and an MA and Specialist degrees in Education from The University of Georgia. Her almost forty year career as an educator included teaching high school History in Americus, GA and English Language Arts and Reading in Madison County, GA and at Burney-Harris-Lyons Middle School in Clarke County, GA. For her exceptional work in challenging gifted learners she received the Foundation for Excellence in Public Education Excellence in Teaching Award in 1991. Ginger served as Assistant Principal at Burney-Harris-Lyons and then, for more than a decade was the Clarke County School District's Director of Gifted Education and Student Assessment, the position from which she retired in 2008. Highly respected for her expertise in many areas, Ginger returned several times after retirement to fill vacant leadership roles most notably serving as Assistant Principal at Barrow Elementary and Hilsman Middle Schools.
Ginger was an active and a long-time member of Covenant Presbyterian Church and participated in every aspect of church service including serving as an elder, choir member, and teacher and host with Covenant's partner church in Olomouc, Czech Republic. She served on the Friends of the Athens-Clarke County Library Board of Directors and for many years on the committee to select the Clarke County Excellence in Teaching Awards. An avid reader, Ginger was a proud member of The Trashy Book Club of Athens for 35 years, reading and discussing great books each month with a close sisterhood of friends.
At the core of Ginger's full life was her family: her husband Woody and their life together, her pride in her sons and their spouses and her delight in her five grandchildren. Though separated by miles, she was a connected and loving mother and grandmother visiting as often as able and in touch with them and their lives. She kept each member of her extended family close in thought and in mind.
Ginger and Woody took pleasure in traveling to many places in the United States and on his Study Abroad teaching assignments in Italy and France almost every summer over the past twenty years. During these travels and at arts and crafts festivals, antique stores and estate sales, they sought out and collected art, pottery, and other beautiful objects to create their warm, inviting home. Over the last ten years, Ginger turned those experiences into a small business, selling her vintage finds and charming creations at a local marketplace, an experience she enjoyed.
Ginger Davis-Beck was preceded in death by her parents, Elbert Kelly Howard and Mary Belcher Howard, infant daughter Amy Elizabeth Davis, and brothers-in-law Rev. Asbury Walton and G.W. Riles. She is survived by her husband Elwood Beck of Athens, sons Lee Davis (Sarah Botha) of Arlington, VA and Phillip Davis (Emily) of Ft. Orglethorpe, GA, grandchildren Lucy, Natalie, Patrick, Aubrey and Virginia Rose, sisters Eleanor Walton of Americus, GA and Carol Riles of Wesley Chapel, FL, brothers-in-law Michael Beck (Mika) and Steven (Vicky), and many family members and friends who will remember Ginger as a kind and purposeful person who lived her life with grace and integrity.
A private service for Ginger Davis-Beck will take place at Covenant Presbyterian Church with a memorial service to be held there in the fall. Memorial donations should be sent to Covenant Presbyterian Church, 1065 Gaines School Rd, Athens, GA 30605.
Lord & Stephens, East, Athens, GA is in charge of arrangements. www.lordandstephens.com