Anita Myrthalene Kelly Davidson was born to Warren and Susie Bell Decker Kelly in Farwell, Texas, on November 30, 1930. Myrt grew up in a loving home with adoring parents who taught her early on the value of hard work and the unending love of God. Early in life, her family moved to Muskogee, Oklahoma. She attended Muskogee public schools and graduated from Abilene Christian High School before beginning at Abilene Christian College. Myrt graduated with a degree in Home Economics and was honored as Miss ACC. She first met Bob Davidson in Abilene, but it was while serving together at a summer camp for disadvantaged children in New Jersey, when their friendship turned into romance. Weeks later, after she had returned home, Bob nervously dropped a letter in the mailbox asking Myrt to be his wife. She said yes and the two were married on December 23rd, 1952.
Bob and Myrt led a life of adventure as they followed God’s call on their lives. They made homes in New York, Bryan and Los Angeles before moving to Thailand where they served as missionaries for 7 years. Myrt’s strength and tenacity emerged as she navigated a new culture and language while raising five children, and she was admired for her grace and beauty even in challenging circumstance. Although the Davidsons returned to the Brazos Valley in 1970, Thailand and its people remained close to their hearts. They returned dozens of times, ultimately bringing with them hundreds of college students through Aggies for Christ, planting in them a seed for missions and exposing them to God’s work around the world.
Following the family’s return to College Station, Myrt was employed by Texas A&M University to manage several campus dining facilities. In 1974, Texas A&M opened a spectacular athletic dormitory, Cain Hall, and Myrt was chosen to manage the dining hall and supervise nutrition. Her natural gifting of creativity and hospitality transformed Cain Hall into a powerful recruiting tool for Texas A&M’s athletic department. Athletes and visitors were often greeted by larger-than-life butter sculptures of Ol’ Sarge towering over rival mascots, exquisite arrays of delicious meals, and a warmth that made each student feel special and welcome. She exemplified servant-leadership and it was not uncommon to see her washing dishes or peeling potatoes alongside her staff. Coaches, staff, and athletes alike would tell stories of Myrt’s generosity and hospitality for years after they left campus.
The same could be said, though, for every circle graced by Myrt’s presence, because this is the person she was. Hers was a life marked by selflessness and a love and compassion that enveloped all she met. Her warm smile, approachable nature, and desire to help others won the hearts of all who knew her. Myrt was known for her hospitality, opening her home to countless Aggies for Christ students, church and community members over the years, offering a fabulous home cooked meal, engaging conversation, wise counsel with perhaps a game of 42 following dessert. The Davidson door was always open to those who needed to find refuge and encouragement inside.
Myrt had the rare ability to immediately elevate the spirits of all who came to know her. To know her was to be loved by her, and her love of others came from an overflow of a heart that first loved Christ. Her love of scripture, faithfulness to God’s call, and devotion to His people led countless to know and love Christ more deeply. The impact of Myrt’s life, legacy and faithfulness truly is far reaching. Her circle of blessing runs deep and stretches around the world.
Of all of Myrt’s roles, her most treasured were those of a wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. She was steadfast in her love and commitment to her husband, and their love story is one for the ages. Her adoration of her children and grandchildren was palpable and she was tireless in supporting their milestones, sport and academic engagements and spiritual well-being.
On Tuesday, April 18, Myrt passed peacefully in her home, surrounded by family, and was ushered into the arms of Jesus, the object of her life’s work and affection. She is survived by her husband of 64 years, Bob Davidson, son Kelly Davidson and his wife Sara, daughter Ruth Rickaway and her husband Ray, son Kenny Davidson and his wife Susan, daughter Debby Napoli and her husband Pete, and daughter Sarah Davidson. Grandchildren John Mark Davidson, Jonathon Klippel, Lisa Hooten, Bryan Davidson, Kristee Walker, Kalee Davidson, Julie Word, Brandon Strain, Calvin Strain, Luke Strain, Barrett Davidson and Marshall Strain. Great grandchildren Kellan Davidson, Parker Davidson, Kase Davidson, Mack Davidson, Everett Walker and Juddson Walker. Brothers Charles Kelly and Jim Kelly and a host of in-laws and extended family.
The family is especially grateful for the loving care Myrt received from Carolyn Lott Bazy, Dr. William Pieratt, and the nurses and staff of Hospice Brazos Valley.
A memorial service celebrating Myrt’s life will be held on Sunday, May 7th at 2PM in the auditorium of the A&M Church of Christ.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in honor of Myrt Davidson at the Davidson Living Legacy Fund / Aggies For Christ and Hospice Brazos Valley, 502 West 26th St., Bryan, Texas.