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A Mighty Oak - Margaret C. Davis

Updates from Lexington

Editor's Note: On June 3, 2019, past General Fraternity archivist Margaret C. Davis passed away peacefully, in her home adjacent to the Headquarters which she loved so much and for which she diligently cared for more than 60 years. Margaret was 99 years old. Margaret exemplified our “greatest generation.” Her life was dedicated to others and to institutions that form the fabric of our society. There are not enough letters, words, or column inches to do Margaret's legacy, and her impact on Sigma Nu, justice. Therefore, it is hoped that this article from a 2005 issue of The Delta will illustrate her immeasurable wit, charm, affection, and devotion to Sigma Nu. Margaret set the example for all of us. She will be deeply missed and always remembered by the Brothers of the Legion of Honor and our staff team, past and present. May she rest in peace

Sigma Nu history is rich with strong men whose leadership has built the fraternity into what it is today. However, men aren't the only ones who have their mark in The Legion of Honor. There are a few women who have shared their time, talents and resources to help further its goals, and like the old song "Sigma Nu Girl" says, these women wear the White Star on their hearts and are dear to the organization.

Margaret Davis is revered not only by the staff at Sigma Nu but also by the many brothers and friends who have visited Headquarters Shrine in Lexington, Va., over the years. Since she joined the staff of the fraternity 45 years ago, Davis has had a huge impact on maintaining Sigma Nu's history and preserving its goals and values.

"I loved working for Sigma Nu and all the people who work there," said Davis, who retired in 1984 but helps take care of the grounds on a volunteer basis. "It wasn't just a nine-to-five job, we became a family and still are today."

Davis moved to Virginia with her family in 1942 when her father took the position as post surgeon in Lexington. She set her sights on moving to England, but when her father passed away a few years later, she remained in Lexington to be with her mother. "I was a physical therapist, and at the time there was no physical therapy department at the hospital in Lexington," said Davis. "When Sigma Nu moved its headquarters here, they needed someone to archive their materials. Our home was next door to the Fletchers and the new Sigma Nu office, so I got the job." Davis speaks highly of then executive director Richard "Dick" Fletcher (Penn State), who hired her as archivist in 1949. "Dick Fletcher just loved the idea of the fraternity being back in this place," said Davis. "He made everyone feel like family and was very committed to Sigma Nu. He even talked VMl's superintendent into getting a piece of the rock that was buried under the parade ground."

Davis enjoyed working as archivist and getting to know the members of Sigma Nu by keeping track of their history. Over time, it has become part of her history, too. When her home burned down in 1969, Davis moved into a small house on the property. She and her sister have donated the Davis property to Sigma Nu, and they retain life interest in the home in which she lives. In addition, she is establishing an endowment to maintain the Headquarters grounds as part of her estate plan.

“Sigma Nu is my family,” said Davis. “It’s kind of my life in a way, and I will be here until I die.”

Davis often can be found pruning trees and working on the grounds of Sigma Nu Headquarters. Lucky visitors who encounter her in the yard are often treated to her personal tours and anecdotes about her time with the Fraternity. Providing funds for grounds maintenance is a fitting legacy.

“I think it’s important to maintain the grounds of such a beautiful place,” said Davis. “Like the wings of the Foundation building which were designed to be welcoming arms, maintaining the grounds is another way to make visitors feel welcome and special. It costs a lot to maintain them, and I want that work to continue once I’m gone.”

© 2015-2019 Sigma Nu Fraternity, Inc.
9 North Lewis Street, P.O. Box 1869, Lexington, Virginia 24450
Phone: 540.463.1869 | Fax: 540.463.1669 | Email: headquarters@sigmanu.org

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