Eva Laveta Phelps Davis was born on June 13, 1920 near Delavan, KS. She was raised on a farm, the youngest of 4 children. She and her older sister Edith liked to play basketball. A highlight of the week would be if the sisters got a ride into town to play basketball with the town girls. She never lost her love of basketball. She grew up a KU basketball fan, but in later years we persuaded her to cheer for K-State, too.
Eva had interest in training to be a nurse, but her mother did not approve and wanted her to be a teacher. Eva attended Emporia Teacher’s College for one year to get a teaching certificate. She taught in Morris county schools for five years.
That five year stint had a break in the middle, when her sister Edith was widowed with 2 children. Eva and her oldest sister Mary moved to Wichita to live with Edith and help her with her children. Eva and Mary got jobs at the aircraft plants. Eva worked at Boeing in the Administration department until WWII ended and then returned to teaching in Morris County. During her time in Wichita she met Leonard Davis, and returned to Wichita to marry him during the semester break in 1947. They were married 53 years at the time of his death. Their first business venture was in sewing machine repair. But Leonard’s partner was not a good businessman and that business ended in failure. After that Leonard rented a gasoline station at the west edge of Wichita and a house within walking distance. They had two children, Gay and Keith. For the next 32 years, until Leonard retired, Eva prepared his lunch and dinner and brought it to him six days a week. In spite of this, she still found time to serve as PTA president at the elementary school, serve on the PTA board during her children’s Junior and Senior High school days and on the city-wide PTA. She was instrumental in getting classes for the mentally handicapped established in the Senior High schools in Wichita. She helped with activities for the mentally handicapped, including bowling, tennis, and square dancing. She was an active member of Westside Christian Church especially in the women’s circles aiding missionaries and taught a Sunday School class for handicapped adults. She spent many hours collecting stamps for missions. She cared for her mother and two older sisters in their later days on this earth. Seven years ago, Eva moved from her home of 57 years in Wichita to Vintage Park in Gardner, KS to live close to Keith and Lynn. Just a short time ago, she was ‘mothering’ one of the other women and washing dishes in the group home where she was living.
Eva was preceded in death by her husband Leonard and daughter Gay. She is survived by her son Keith and daughter-in-law Lynn of Edgerton, KS, granddaughter Jillian and husband Adam Winkler of Joplin, MO, grandson Josh and his wife Jackie of LaRue, TX, grandson Jordan and his wife Jordan Lea of Overland Park, KS, granddaughter Jenna and husband Ben Balman of Spring Hill, KS and granddaughter Julie of Manhattan, KS. She has eight great-grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, you may choose to donate to one of the following which were near and dear to Eva.
Starkey,Inc., starkey.org; IDES (International Disaster Emergency Services) which is a Christian Red Cross, ides.org; Cookson Hills, cooksonhills.org