ROSAMUND E. DAVIS (March 26, 1932 – October 11, 2018) daughter of the late Goode & Martha Davis, Nashville, TN. Co-founder, with Vivien Cyrus, of Bellingham Montessori School, “The Children’s House” (A.M.I) for 18 years, from 1972 – 1990, and pioneer of The Montessori Method of Education in Bellingham.
“God’s Love and Divine Blessings, Always.” -V&R
Bellingham Montessori Pioneer
Rosamund Elisabeth Overton Davis
Daughter of Goode P. Davis (portraitist: painted President Franklin D. Roosevelt) & Martha Davis (neé Dickinson) of Nashville, Tennessee.
I first met Rosamund in 1964 in Paris at a dinner party. She was then married to Alan Cooper of Nashville, Tennessee, who was employed by a French architectural firm. They were the first Americans I had ever met, little realizing how that encounter would strongly influence the course of my entire life.
The last descendant of and illustrious dual historic lineage, beginning with Pilgrim and Plymouth Colony Governor, William Bradford (paternal), Henry Middleton, President of the Second Continental Congress (maternal), and two signers of the Declaration of Independence, John Morton (paternal), and Arthur Middleton (maternal), continuing on in an impressive line of Statesmen ending with Presidential Appointments conferred upon her paternal grandfather, Norman H. Davis, by Presidents Woodrow Wilson (Undersecretary of The Treasury), Herbert Hoover (Chairman of Geneva Disarmament Conference), and President Franklin D. Roosevelt during each of his terms of office (Ambassador-at-Large, Economic Advisor, and Chairman of the American Red Cross during World War I).
It is worthy to mention here that under the leadership of Norman H. Davis, the Red Cross established relief programs for civilian war victims and prisoners of war and oversaw the dramatic expansion of the Red Cross Volunteer Base, and the variety of services offered during wartime. It was he who introduced the new and vitally important Red Cross blood services, which saved thousands of lives during the war and thereafter. History also records that it was upon Norman H. Davis’s advice that President Roosevelt demanded “…nothing less than an unconditional surrender…” from Germany.
Rosamund dearly loved, and was particularly proud of, this grandfather who, despite his great wealth (he was a brilliant economist) chose to devote his entire life to public service.
Neither her lineage, nor her own enviable and interesting encounters with Crowned Heads and Heads-Of-State during her youth made any dent whatsoever on her quiet, unassuming nature. “Although I feel honoured to have emerged from such a noble lineage, I can hardly lay claim to any credit for their accomplishments. My own contributions to society pale by comparison. All of the kudos belong to them, and deservedly so.”
A graduate of Vanderbilt University (Major: English Literature; Minor: Philosophy) and member of the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority, Rosamund first worked at the American Embassy in London and then at UNESCO in Paris. She later went on to graduate from the Maria Montessori Training Institute in Washington D.C. in 1966. That same year I graduated from the same Organization in London, as a result of which we, eventually, established the first Montessori School in Bellingham, Washington in 1972; thus, our meeting in Paris punctuated what became a lifelong association.
Rosamund led a full, adventurous, and athletic life which included travelling, skiing, tennis, swimming, golf, camping, and fishing. She also had a great love and appreciation for the Classical Arts. She, herself, played the piano skillfully, and with great beauty and sensitivity. The most cherished of all her achievements, however, was the co-establishment of Bellingham Montessori School, also called The Children’s House, where she regarded teaching small children as the happiest and most fulfilling of her life’s experiences. Together, we taught more than five hundred children in this city, over a period of eighteen years, until the Arctic Storm of 1990 and an aggressive form of Rheumatoid Arthritis brought the School to a close. This, in addition to teaching children in Portland, Oregon, San Francisco & Santa Monica, California, as well as Seattle, Washington. Vivien & Rosamund went on to receive two appointments as U.S. Delegates representing Montessori Education: In 1991 to The Peoples Republic of China, and in 1992 as U.S. Delegates to Russia, Hungary, and Poland. These appointments were by invitation from the respective Ministries of Education of said countries.
After six joint-replacement operations, Rosamund’s senior years were spent in comfortable seclusion, with periodic summer visits from friends and her beloved Montessori alumnae and their offspring.
All of my experiences in the USA, from my arrival, in 1966, to the present date, have been shared with Rosamund. When I was homesick for Europe, she taught me to appreciate the great beauty, grandeur, strength and nobility of America and its people, which enabled me to establish the deepest roots of my Heart in this land. And, when I yearned for the European way of life, and for my “friends & family” there, she – and the children – filled my days with the enduring warmth and coziness of “family.” Rosamund showed me the true meaning of the word “friendship” – one which has lasted for 54 years.
Throughout that most incredible journey of our relationship, from Paris to Portland, San Francisco, Santa Monica, Seattle, and Bellingham Rosamund has been my constant, most loyal, and dearest friend, and my true sister in Christ. In all of my dreams and endeavours, she has supported and encouraged me, and has stood, steadfastly, by my side.
Rosamund was a shy, genuinely kindhearted, gentle soul, who won the hearts and respect of everyone who knew her.
– End –