NKY Resident to Celebrate 100th Birthday on Saturday
Against a backdrop of world-wide turbulence and extraordinary progress, Catherine C. (Gregg) Davis was born in Dayton, Kentucky on June 8, 1916. Yesterday, Kentucky’s newest centenarian celebrated her 100th birthday.
In 1916, Woodrow Wilson was finishing his first term as President, John D. Rockefeller became the world’s first billionaire, and Germany brought WWI to France with the Zeppelin bombing of Paris and the start of the Battle of Verdun.
In the U.S., Coca-Cola’s current formula was brought to the market, the first PGA tournament and the second Rose Bowl were played, and Wrigley Field (known then as Weeghman Park) opened in Chicago - the Cubs beat the Cincinnati Reds 7–6 in 11 innings. The U.S. invaded Cuba, and the Dominican Republic, and crossed into Mexico in an unsuccessful effort to capture Pancho Villa.
As a child, Davis suffered from severe arthritis. Doctors knew very little about the condition at that time and in an attempt to ease her pain, they removed the marrow from her hip bone. The recovery took months, and she was mostly restricted in a full body cast. She was left with a shortened leg and the function of her hip joint was never restored.
In 1933, Davis met a charming and handsome man, Richard H. Davis. They were married on October 31. One of their great-grandchildren would later ask why they married on Halloween. Davis would say, “What better day for a clown to marry a witch.”
Catherine and Richard Davis had seven children - six daughters and one son. Their first child died one day after her birth. They remained married for 66 years until his death in 1999.
During WWII, Richard Davis served in the United States Navy aboard the USS Wasp. While he was away, Davis worked to help support the family at Wadsworth Watch Company in Dayton. As part of the war effort, the factory stopped making Gruen Watches and instead made parts for airplane bombing sights. Davis worked on the assembly line and was made supervisor because, despite having only completed the 5th grade, she was very good at math. At that time, most women had little education.
If math was her talent, raising her family was her passion. Today, Davis’ family has grown to include 19 grandchildren, 26 great-grandchildren, and 17 great-great-grandchildren. The family, which is spread out across the country, will gather in Independence this Saturday, June 11, to celebrate this remarkable milestone with her.
- Staff report/Photo provided