By Mrs. Frances Guinn
HONDO — One hundred years and one day after Lucy Justine Davis arrived in Hondo on Aug. 16, 1914, dozens of her friends and former students flocked to her home to wish her a happy birthday.
To the delight of the centenarian, on Sunday, Aug. 17, approximately 100 people streamed through the room in which she was born, bringing her greetings, love, small gifts with special meanings, and recalling wonderful memories.
Many had come from long distances: Sinton, Corpus Christi, Yorktown, Houston, Granbury, San Antonio, Colorado, and elsewhere. The visitors included many former students and their family members, children and grandchildren of friends, and a number of long-time friends.
Lucy describes herself as a shy little girl who hid behind her mother’s long skirts. She apparently learned from her mother’s outgoing example.
Lucy grew into a confident young woman who took on many responsibilities and challenges throughout her life.
A graduate of Our Lady of the Lake University with degrees in Journalism and Home Economics, she dreamed of being the editor of the Ladies Home Journal, but she took a fourth and fifth grade teaching job in Runge instead. Three years later, she decided she liked teaching and earned a Smith-Hughes teaching certificate from A&M at Kingsville, which qualified her to teach home economics.
She taught in Nordheim for 11 years and 29 years in Sinton. She was the junior class and annual sponsor at Nordheim. As a homemaking teacher, she was in charge of sponsoring and decorating for junior-senior banquets at Nordheim and Sinton for 35 years.
At Sinton she instituted the first all-boys home management class and assisted in setting up similar classes in other South Texas schools.
Having never married, she, nonetheless, became a mother figure to thousands of stu- dents throughout her 43-year teaching career and was honored by the Sinton Enterprise with a “Mother of the Year” award in 1975. Some of her students continue to keep in touch.
Active in all three communities, she judged flower shows, served on fair committees, and participated in all kinds of community events and executive committees. She was chairwoman, co-chair and secretary of area homemaking teachers’ councils, sponsored area and district officers for Future Homemakers of America, served on the board of the San Patricio County Youth Fair for nine or 10 years, and as a judge at county fairs “all over the place.” She lead programs for the area, district and for two state meetings and attended state teacher and homemaking conferences for 40 years.
She has been a member of Delta Kappa Gamma for 70 years, having joined in 1944. She served as an officer in Alpha Phi Chapter and as an officer and chairman in Delta Kappa Gamma as part of her very active college life.
On the 75th anniversary of her Class of 1936 graduation, she was honored at Our Lady of the Lake, as the only ex-student attending from that year.
“I got preferential treatment all day and was even on TV,” she said.
After retiring from teaching, she returned to Hondo.
A member of Castro Colonies Heritage Association, Lucy became active in local historical research and was an editor of the Medina County History Vol. I and several other publications. She and her sister, Anne, a local attorney for about half a century, were co-recipients of the Hondo Area Chamber of Commerce Cornerstone Award, honoring their many contributions to the community.
An extension of those contributions is the Davis family’s donation of an extensive Texana collection started by their parents, Fletcher and Roberta, to the Hondo Public Library. The treasured collection of historical information, books, papers and various other items will have a permanent place in the new library building that is planned to be built just a block from the Davis home.
Frances touched many people’s lives. At least six of her former Sinton students came to celebrate Lucy’s birthday with her.
One of Lucy’s students, Mary Grace Z. Rocha has kept in touch with Lucy all these years because, as Rocha put it, “Lucy saw the whole student. She was a counselor, a teacher, a friend and I value everything she taught me. She touched many, many lives.”
The author of this story, Frances Guinn, elaborated, “(she) is a wonderful lady. It was so awesome to know that her students have kept in touch with her all these years, it’s really awesome. She is very special and that’s the reason I wrote the story.”