There have already been tributes written to Carole and I’m sure there will be more. Each of us has our own stories about this loving and exuberant woman.
Carole McReynolds Davis was a Starkville fixture. Despite my growing up in Starkville, I can’t say that I was aware of her until I moved back to town in 2004. We were 10 years different in age, a lifetime for a young person.
From the time I returned home, Louisville Street served as a regular route for me from office to home to shopping and pretty much anywhere else around town. On my daily trips, it was impossible to miss the “Grand Ole Lady.” That was my introduction to Carole and quite an introduction it served to be. Her family home, the Pearson Place, sits pretty much in the middle of the distance between Greensboro Street and Highway 12 on Louisville Street.
The house spoke volumes about Carole and she about it. The design was classic and historic, but the accessorizing done by Carole was all personality and pizzazz. The outside decor always reflected the season “Miss Dottie” was always dressed appropriately. She wore a red suit with white fur at Christmas; she was always ready when Valentine’s Day rolled around; she had the ever-ready green for St. Paddy’s Day celebrations and never let it be said that July-the-4th colors were not noted well in advance.
I first got to know of Carole when her husband Frank was running against Dan Camp for Mayor. Frank Davis had been a fixture on the Starkville Board of Aldermen for several years, and he was the sitting mayor pro tempore during his campaign. Needless to say Carole’s absolute devotion to Frank and his bid for mayor did not bode well for our relationship, for a number of years.
As I supported Mayor Camp through his four-year term of office there would be times when Carole exercised her constitutional right to free speech regarding matters at city hall. Let’s just say we weren’t on the same page.
Carole and Frank were both strong and regular supporters of the Starkville Community Theater. We shared a love of sitting on the front row to watch the actors who we had come to respect and appreciate for their artistic devotion to the community. Carole with her array of hat choices was a regular at all events Starkville. She supported and appreciated her hometown in her own creative style.
And so it went until 2013. When I was in the turmoil of dismissal from the job I loved and had held for eight years, who did I find in my corner but Carole McReynolds Davis. To this day I don’t know if she was drawn to the underdog or if she was supporting me personally. I never had the occasion to ask her and it really doesn’t matter. It gave me some comfort, and I believe that is what she intended.
She was kind when she might have harbored a lifelong grudge. She was vocal about her support for my work with the city, and I will always remember her for the extra effort she took to share her thoughts with me and others.
My last interaction with Carole was her personally delivering invitations to her and Frank’s milestone anniversary celebration at the Starkville Cafe. As usual she was unrestrained in her enthusiasm, and I regret not making it to the event. I would say that she wouldn’t have noticed my absence, but I believe she noticed everything.
Carole was a wonderful artist and her writing for the Starkville Daily News was full of kindness and superlatives for the recipients of her attention. She punctuated her missives and her life with a gusto impossible to ignore or not admire. We will not have Carole’s joie de vivre in our midst again, but she has left us with wonderful, tangible gifts of her time with us.