Merle Davis

Islander Merle Smith Davis, 73, died Thursday (Dec. 28) at home. She was the wife of Donald D. Davis author and storyteller.

Born Feb. 11, 1944, in Durham, Merle was a daughter of the late Irma Gunther Smith and Laurence Smith and grew up in Chapel Hill. 

After graduating from Chapel Hill High School in 1962, she attended the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and received her education degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1966.

Half of Merle’s career was spent as an elementary classroom teacher in Charlotte, Chapel Hill and on Ocracoke.  The other half of her professional life was spent as an arts administrator.  She was director of the Dublin County Arts Council in Kenansville, Duplin County, and later Director of Artsplosure in Raleigh. 

For the last 25 years she has been the arts administrator for Donald’s, storytelling business.

In their time together, she and Donald loved travel, camping, reading and cooking.

In addition to her husband, Merle is survived by four sons, Patrick Jubal Creech of Thailand, Douglas Davis (Jill) of Raleigh, Jonathan Davis (Koran) of Greensboro, and Kelly Davis (Erin) of Durham; two grandsons, Tommy and Frank; and a brother, Larry Smith (Robin) of Richmond, Virginia.

A celebration of Merle’s life will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 6, in the Ocracoke Community Center.  This will be a potluck and all are welcome to share stories and remembrances of Merle.

Memorial gifts may be directed to the Ocracoke Preservation Society, P.O. Box 1240, Ocracoke, NC 27960.

Twiford Funeral Home, Manteo, is assisting the family with arrangements.  Condolences may be expressed online here. 



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  1. It truly feels to me as if the sun has vanished. I know that Merle would strongly object to this…she found light, she brought light, she was light. And I know we can only really honor her by trying our best to reflect her light in our lives and share it with others. I keep thinking of a line by the poet Jane Kenyon: “G/d does not leave us comfortless…” May the joy and gratitude of having shared our lives with this remarkable, beautiful woman comfort us all. Amen.

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