Margaret Cole Davis died peacefully at home in Lexington on June 3, 2019.

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Margaret Cole Davis died peacefully at home in Lexington on June 3, 2019.

Born in 1919 in Winnipeg, Canada, she was the daughter of the late Dr. William Cole Davis of Rockbridge Baths and Norma Madeleine Christie Davis of Winnipeg, providing Margaret with dual citizenship. She was the granddaughter of James Cole Davis and the great granddaughter of William Weaver Davis.

Ms. Davis’s ancestors sailed from England to Jamestown in 1618 and she proudly carried the name of Cole throughout her long life.  Her maternal grandfather Mr. Christie had planned to travel with his wife from England to the United States on the Titanic but changed their plans due to Mrs. Christie’s lack of confidence in the luxurious  new steamship. Those who knew Ms. Davis would say that she embraced the same tenacity and insight as her ancestors.

Ms. Davis grew up in Canada and England, attending The Rodean School and the Kings Hall Boarding School in England and the Margaret Eaton Boarding School  in Canada. She graduated from high school in Quebec and later from the University of Toronto, having majored in physical education. She then returned to the Margaret Eaton School to teach.


During World War II, Ms. Davis sought to enter active duty in WRENS, the Women’s Royal English Naval Service. To have the needed skills, she enrolled in McGill University in Montreal for a course of study in physical therapy. However, the completion of that study coincided with the end of the war and she joined her parents in  Lexington, where her  father served as surgeon general at the Virginia Military Institute. Margaret was then hired as a physical therapist at the University of Virginia and lived in Charlottesville.

Upon the death of her father, she returned to Lexington to live with her mother and work for the Sigma Nu Fraternity National Headquarters where she launched an unprecedented dedication of service. Beginning in 1959, she worked for Sigma Nu in many capacities for the next five decades. She considered Sigma Nu to be “her family.”

Margaret and her mother Mrs. Cole Davis were both longtime supporters of the historic organizations in Lexington with Mrs. Cole Davis having served on the original board of the Historic Lexington Foundation.  Margaret donated family furnishings to the Rockbridge Historical Society headquarters and was a generous benefactor of the Historic Lexington Foundation.

Ms. Davis was also instrumental in the founding of Saint Paul’s Anglican Church of Lexington and served there in many roles including alter guild and pianist. She was a member of the Blue Ridge Garden Club for more than 50 years and served as president during 1973-1975. She was honored by that club in 2015 in recognition of her lengthy tenure. Margaret took pride in her own lovely garden at her home on Lewis Street next door to Sigma Nu. At the age of 97, she was still occasionally seen weeding the Sigma Nu gardens.

Margaret Davis was a valuable asset to the community in Lexington, volunteering for Meals for Shut-ins, the Stonewall Jackson Hospital, the Thrift Shop, and as a docent at the Stonewall Jackson House Museum and the Rockbridge Historical Society.

She was preceded in death by her parents, her sister, Elizabeth Christie Davis Bowness, and a nephew, Scott Christie Bowness.  She is survived by a nephew, James Cole Bowness of Montclair, N.J., and many close friends in Lexington.

A memorial service was held at 2 p.m. Wednesday, June 12, at the St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Lexington with Father Eric Parker officiating. Burial will take place at Stonewall Jackson Cemetery.

It is requested that any memorial gifts be designated to Saint Paul’s Anglican Church or a charity of one’s choice.

Arrangements are by Harrison Funeral Home & Crematory.


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