Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Chapter Closes, January 26, 2010

Generations pass like leaves fall
from our family tree.
Each season new life blossoms
and grows benefiting 
from the strength and experience 
of those who went before.
~Heidi Swapp

Hello Family and Friends,

Greetings to all of you on this fine winter's day in San Diego where the weather is exceptional and the living is good.

A Chapter Closes. Our hearts go out to the family of Mildred Beck Davis (1911- 2011) who died last week after suffering a stroke. (See first picture of her in 2006.) One of her grandsons, David Jones, put together a video presentation that you can view at this link.

My cousin Dane Shepard attended her service on Jan 24. Dane: "I just returned from Mildred's memorial. I was moved and impressed. It was a deeply loving tribute to one whose direct influence spanned four generations. Of the 107 descendants listed in the program, most of them were present. Mildred was indeed a special person of love and faith whose life began in a simple dwelling on the prairie (not far from where Pauline, Elmer, and Eugene Shepard were born) near Logan in the panhandle of OK. The great changes and challenges she experienced in her lifetime are quite impressive and how she lived through and met them is even more admirable. I was so impressed with the great respect and devotion expressed by her grandchildren. She leaves a loving legacy which I find rare these days. I'm thankful for the opportunity to have shared in this very special tribute."

With Mildred's passing a chapter closes in the history of our family. My grandmother Bura Davis Shepard and Mildred's husband Jesse Davis were two of the 7 children of James Brooks and Caroline Davis. Mildred was the last surviving member of that generation in our family. (The second picture from the 1930s shows a young and smiling Jesse and Mildred Davis.)

Those 7 Davis children and their spouses spawned a unique and wonderful clan of people (Davises, Shepards, Kilpatricks, Jenkinses, and Millikans) whose descendants are spread out over much of the United States (especially Oklahoma, Texas, California and Washington) and number at least 400 today.

The lives of those 7 couples span the entire 20th century and cover quite an amazing era in American life. From the invention of the airplane, to the time of the internet and space travel; from a U.S. population of 60 million, to over 310 million today. Mildred's passing, then, brings to a close the era of those couples, who leave a remarkable legacy. We can do no better than live grateful for their lives, and the values, the faith and the heritage they have left us. Mildred reminds us that we are blessed to be heirs of these fine folk.

Happy First Anniver- sary! Best wishes to Kevin and Havilah (Colgain) Wardle who were married one year ago Jan 23, in the wilds of Utah. Or, as Havilah says, in "a place that is full of history and beauty, as old as time and as young as a newborn, a place that holds its ground, that is always evolving, that is sacred and precious, just like our relationship."

Havilah is the daughter of Joan Shepard of Dixon, California and the granddaughter of Elmer Shepard of Mustang, Texas. The happy couple live in West Valley City, Utah.
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