The spirit of Lydia Jean Davis, mother, daughter, grandmother, sister, wife, writer, musician, and protector of all living creatures, left this earth on January 15, perfectly in peace and at one with the universe, in the arms of her family and friends.
A Jacksonville native, Lydia was born on April 15, 1961 to Robert Cornelius Davis and Thelma Jean Botts Davis, both of them World War II veterans. Robert and Thelma met when she nursed him back to health after being wounded during combat. Lydia graduated from Terry Parker High School, then went on to attend New York University, eventually returning to Jacksonville and settling into the Arlington area. An English major, Lydia loved writing short stories, screen plays, and poetry, earning a master’s degree in Education at Jacksonville University. Lydia dedicated her life to the education of children, mostly high schoolers, and taught at her own alma mater, Terry Parker High School. She retired after more than 30 years of service with Duval County Public Schools.
Lydia was a member of Hendricks Avenue Baptist Church for nearly 17 years where she served in a number of different capacities: she was an alto in the Sanctuary Choir, occasionally taught Sunday School, and was the “Lector Lady,” and often wrote materials for special programs during such seasons as Lent and Christmas. She loved music and was an accomplished pianist and bassoonist, and even taught herself how to play the bagpipes. She loved the out-of-doors and was a nature enthusiast. She befriended every animal that ever wandered into her presence, regardless of what it was. She loved her four cats and the local gaggle of ducks and geese from a nearby lake that visited her every morning and evening.
Lydia was preceded in death by her parents and by her only sibling, her brother Robert Charles Davis, an Air Force veteran. She is survived by her only child, her son John Rex Kirkland, her beloved granddaughter Haley Kirkland, and the love of her life, Rick Kirkland.
A memorial service will be held on Thursday, Jan. 21, at 1 p.m. in the sanctuary of Hendricks Avenue Baptist Church, 4001 Hendricks Avenue in Jacksonville. Current church protocol is strictly followed: masks must be worn by anyone entering the church, appropriate social distancing is observed, and seating within the church is limited.
The family suggests that any memorials be made to Hendrick Avenue Baptist Church at the above address or online at the church’s website, habchurch.com/give.