Muriel Elaine Davis loved children and devoted her professional life to educating them and to ensuring that she made a real impact upon each student.
Davis died last week at the age of 67 and leaves behind her husband of 42 years, G.B. Davis; a daughter, Katina Dyane Davis of Little Rock; her mother, La Erma White of Texarkana, Ark; and two sisters, LaVerne McQueen of Fort Worth, Texas, and Carolyn White of Atlanta, Georgia. Her father, Herman White, preceded her in death.
Shortly after graduating from Henderson State University in Arkadelphia with a Master of Science degree, Davis became a teacher at Altheimer High School and became a beloved fixture there as a French language teacher over two decades.
“Back in the day we had a great school, a great community and great teachers,” said Stacy Coleman-Bohannon, who graduated from Altheimer in 1981. “Ms. Davis was one of those teachers who loved her children and loved her job. She gave all of us French names and mine was Danielle. I have always remembered that. She was the kind of person who made an impact on the lives of people in the community and in her class.”
Coleman-Bohannon said that Davis did not shirk from dispensing advice to her pupils.
“She meant business but she was down-to-earth,” Coleman-Bohannon said. “She would talk to you like your mom would. When you would see her, even after graduation, the love was still there.”
Ann Reynolds-Compton took French I and II with Davis during her junior and senior years at Altheimer. She graduated in 1982.
“Ms. Davis was a genuine person,” Reynolds-Compton said. “Her class was all about learning but she also made learning fun. She is truly going to be missed. She is one of those teachers you don’t forget. Most importantly, she was a Christian.”
Tracie Reynolds-Elliott has fond memories of learning French with Davis.
“I had her for French I and French II,” Reynolds-Elliott said. “She was a fun, high-spirited person. She made everybody in class get up and have conversations with her in French. She kept the class lively and made it fun all the time. If you didn’t know French before, you were going to. She was just a really good teacher. I’ll always remember that smile.”
Watson Chapel School Board Director Ronnie Reynolds also studied French with Davis.
“I thought Ms. Davis was one of the world’s greatest teachers,” Reynolds said. “She was a teacher and a disciplinarian. I cherish the years I had her as a teacher. When I did well, she spoke French and when I misbehaved, she spoke English just to make sure that I understood.”
After Altheimer, Davis became a program director focused on early childhood education with Jefferson Comprehensive Care in Pine Bluff.
Former JCC Executive Director Larnell Davis said that he knew Muriel Davis in two capacities.
“As a fellow church member at Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church, she exhibited outstanding leadership,” Larnell Davis said. “She built up the church choir from just four or five members to a large group. She worked with the youth choir and the men’s choir as well.
“When she came to us at JCC, she had experience working with parents and teachers and she developed the early childhood program at JCC and secured a grant to expand the program outside of Pine Bluff. She was involved her whole life since she came out of college working with the youth.”
Sandra Brown is the current JCC executive director.
“Ms. Davis was a wonderful person and very committed to her program,” Brown said. “She coordinated the Parents as Teachers program. She received both state and national recognition for her years of work with early childhood education. She was a very kind, committed and humble person.”