Athens Review, Athens, Texas

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November 6, 2012

Legendary columnist calls it quits

Clara Jo Davis decides to end her duties after more than three decades

Athens — ATHENS – An end of an era has come for Mrs. Clara Jo Davis.

Clara Jo, a community columnist, has been a fixture in the Athens Review for more than 30 years. The Review readers have learned about her passion for food, church and her friends. Her zest for living was always evident in her weekly column.

Davis became a community writer when many of the communities would be featured in the Review. Throughout the years the writers of the community news pages have either passed away, or just gave up.

But not Davis – She just kept her column going when others have quit. Her readers depended on her.

Davis, now 85, and living at South Place Nursing Center, will no longer be writing the Cross Roads and Shady Oaks-area news.

She said that with her eye sight failing, she has not been able to write the news the way she did in the past.

Recently, she has had help writing her column. Laura Roberts, another community news columnist for the Review, has been helping her, but she is no long able to give the help Clara Jo needs to keep up with a weekly column.

Clara Jo said, “I am sure going to miss it. I've been doing it for at least 30 years.”

She says she has had a good life and a good time writing her weekly news for the Review.

Davis was born in Anderson County to Thomas Hampton and Trixie Wright Morrison. She is an alumni of Cross Roads Independent School District, and married Osborn Davis at the age of 17.

Four years later she  gave birth to her only child, a girl, Bobbie Karan Davis. After 35 years of marriage Osborn Davis passed away. Years later, she also lost her daughter.

Her only sister, Bobbie Matthews, lives in Rusk with her husband, Carl Lee.

Davis spent 18 years driving a school bus for Cross Roads, Athens and Malakoff school districts. Prior to her bus driving  career, she spent many years as a caterer.

“I would bake wedding cakes, birthday cakes and homemade bread,” Davis said. “People still tell me I made cakes for their weddings.”

In Clara Jo-fashion, she wanted to make sure the people who helped her along the way were recognized.

“Susan Till was a great neighbor, and would help me with my news. Jimmy and Martha Mitchell would deliver my news to the paper, and Jerry Phillips interviewed me for a story. I want to thank them all,” she said.

When you ask Davis where her inspiration for her news column came from, she exclaims “Me.” She wrote what she knew – her life and the life of her friends. She said she will miss telling the stories about herself and her beloved community.

Clara Jo will be passing the torch of writing a weekly column to a distance relative, Peggy Trammel Allen.

She will not be leaving Peggy on her own to figure it out.  Clara will be there every step of the way, guiding Peggy to becoming a community-news reporter.   

Peggy, with the help of Clara Jo,  will continue to grace the pages of the Athens Review with the news of Cross Roads and Shady Oaks.

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