The Port Arthur News
PORT ARTHUR —
Retired Port Arthur ISD teacher and school counselor Bettye Davis is remembered by friends for her kindness and giving nature.
Davis, 70, was found murdered in her home in the 2200 block of Shirley on Friday, March 30.
Fellow Delta Sigmna Theta sorority sister Naomi Bailey, who first met Davis in 1968, reminisced on their 42 years of friendship. Photos depicting the life of Davis were spaced out neatly on a Bailey’s coffee table. Many of the photos show a foursome of friends; Davis and Bailey as well as sorority sisters and fellow PAISD employees Patty Thibedeaux and Dorothy Edwards. In each photo Davis has a big smile and is the tallest of her group.
“She came from a big family but not so big that she didn’t remember birthdays and anniversaries,” Bailey said.
Davis would purchase numerous birthday cards not only for family members but friends and relatives of sorority sisters, Bailey said.
“If there were 15 birthdays in a month, then she’d have 15 cards addressed. She would place the birth date in the corner where the stamp goes and when the date neared she would place the stamp and mail the card,” Bailey said. “She was even doing this for other people’s grandchildren.”
Davis, 70, was found murdered in her home in the 2200 block of Shirley on Friday, March 30. Davis’ nephew, Lawrence James Jr., 42, of Port Arthur, is a person of interest in the stabbing death. James remains in the Harris County jail on an unrelated charge.
Bettye Davis began her teaching career in 1963 and taught at Franklin School until desegregation, Bailey said. From there Davis was transferred to Edison Middle School as a counselor and later went on to work at Lincoln School with the summit program.
Davis loved to travel and would make it a point to bring back souvenirs for friends.
“Everywhere she went, she brought back a souvenir,” Bailey said. “I love refrigerator magnets and she would always bring back one. I have one from Jamaica, I’ve never been to Jamaica but I have a refrigerator magnet from Jamaica.
Edie Durham, also a member of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority, was friend and neighbor to Davis.
“I’ll never wrap my head around what happened to her,” Durham said.
Durham said Davis was always helpful and a person you could count on.
“When I was sick I knew she was going to be one of the ones to visit me,” Durham said. “She was my sister. We’re going to miss her.”
Davis was a lifelong member of St. Paul United Methodist Church where she was a Sunday School teacher for the middle adult class, chairperson of the scholarship fund and had served as a chairperson for different committees through the years.
“She was somebody you would be proud to let others know you knew,” the Rev. Patricia Wells of St. Paul UMC said. “She was also my sorority sister. We had a different bond than that of just pastor and member. She was very nice, very giving. She always remembered birthdays and anniversaries and always had some little token to give you.”
Wells called Davis an even tempered person who was always encouraging others.
“She was not the type of person to stimulate bad thoughts but to try and turn you to good thoughts to show how God would view the situation,” Wells said.
Services for Davis are pending with Hannah Funeral Home.