Margaret L. Davison, 1922–2016


MARGARET L. DAVISON, 94, of Lakewood, Ohio, passed away peacefully, in her sleep, Nov. 22, 2016, at the Hospice of the Western Reserve in Cleveland with her son at her side.

Family was Margaret’s top priority. She taught that we should love our family members unconditionally for what is good in each of them, never letting anger cloud that love.

Her father, Vernon J. Lile, and mother, Zella B. Knapp, moved from the Traverse City, Michigan, area in the early 20th century to Detroit. Margaret was born at home Jan. 30, 1922, at Royal Oak, Michigan.

Despite lifelong blindness in one eye and a serious bout with rheumatic fever as a girl, which interrupted her education for nearly a year, she excelled as a student and graduated at the top of her high school class at Royal Oak, intending to be the first in her family to go to college. That plan was put aside with her marriage to Bob Richardson, the birth of their son, Gary, and World War II. She later liked to quip that “Gary was my college education.”

After Bob enlisted in the Navy, Margaret worked at General Motors in the Fisher Body blueprint department, helping develop the “Gen. Sherman” tank. One of her proudest moments was being invited to ride in one of these tanks in a parade down Woodward Avenue in Detroit. Bob was seriously injured in the Battle of Tarawa in the South Pacific; he survived but the marriage did not.

After the war, as a single mom, Margaret went to secretarial school. She learned shorthand and excelled as a stenographer and a 120-word-a-minute typist. In 1945, she caught the eye of a handsome man in uniform, Donald L. Davison. They moved to upstate New York, where they ran appliance businesses and Donna was born in 1949. They moved to the Cleveland area in 1950, where Janet was born in 1954 and Dyann in 1955. They settled in Independence, where Margaret devoted herself to their family until all of the kids graduated from high school.

She made all of their holidays and birthdays special, decorating the home and baking cookies at Christmas, candying apples and making costumes for all the kids on Halloween, creating birthday celebrations with homemade theme cakes and always a card with a dollar for each year, dying eggs and hiding special baskets for Easter morning discovery, cooking delicious Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, and even placing Valentine’s Day treats beside each plate. These special days showed her deep love for her family.

In addition to a loving environment for her family, Margaret created a safe and welcoming haven for her children’s friends, particularly through their adolescent years. She showed unconditional love to the many people who knew and loved her.

In 1968, she took a job as an executive secretary for the Campbell Soup Co. In 1973, she joined the Cleveland Convention and Visitors Bureau as Director of Services.

In the late ’70s, she divorced Don and moved into The Carlyle on Lake Erie in Lakewood. From her apartment overlooking the lake, she loved to watch the boats, the shifting moods of the lake, and the changing skyline of Cleveland, the city she loved dearly, across the bay.

She loved to read and had a special gift for reading aloud to her children and grandchildren. Her love of language and learning lives on in all of her offspring.

Margaret also loved adventure: a solo train trip across the country to visit family in the West, sailing on Lake Erie, open heart surgery at 67 to repair damage from rheumatic fever as a girl, and in her ’80s, flying across the Atlantic to see family in Portugal, a helicopter flight over the Grand Canyon, tent-camping at a Buddhist retreat in Hawaii, visiting Mayan sites in Mexico.

Always a lady, while never wealthy she had an innate sense of class, reflected in her personal appearance and style. With the help of her daughter, Dyann, she also expressed that class in the decor and furnishing of her Carlyle condominium.

Margaret was preceded in death by her parents; her brother, Howard V. Lile; her sister, Ruth Helen Consterdine; her grandson Mark Lile Richardson; husbands Robert E. Richardson and Donald L. Davison; and her dear friend Joyce Crockett.

She is survived by her children: Gary Richardson (Diane Ronayne), Boise, Idaho; Donna Davison, Raleigh, North Carolina; Janet Chamberlin (Kent), Durham, New Hampshire; and Dyann Davison, Chesterland, Ohio; her grandchildren: Dawn Richardson (Ethan Savage), Erik Richardson (Beverly), Dee Lewis, Jeremy DaCosta (Soraya), Lauren Stephens, Allison Trill, Shelby Chamberlin (Adam Krauss), Brett Chamberlin, Grant Chamberlin, Chelsea Davison (Jon Moormann); five great-grandchildren; and three great-great-grandchildren.

Margaret had a special place in her heart for her friend Maxine Schwartz, her cardiologist, Dr. Michael Rollins, and her longtime caregiver and friend, Mary Jo Grossman. A memorial gathering to celebrate Margaret’s life will be held at a later date. Contributions in her name to the Hospice of the Western Reserve and Women Safe would be appreciated.