RINGLING — On June 6, 1931, Faydell Davis, surprised her parents Manila (Nell) Fish-Davis and Wesley Verbin (Bervin) Davis with her early arrival. She was born premature at Orr, at  their farm home during the Great Depression. Baby Faye had to be tough from the get-go just to survive. When Faye was only a few weeks old she was wrapped and taken to the cotton fields with her mother. It was told that Mama was laid at the end of a cotton sack while her own mother picked cotton and dragged the sack. One could say Mama learned her strong work ethics at a very early age. Times were hard and desperate, but our Mama’s childhood was filled with love and a large, close family. She had four older brothers: Lillard, Virgil, Warren, and John Henry Davis along with two older sisters: Lou Nora “Sis” (Davis) George and Lorene “Rene” (Davis) Wade. Mama was small in stature, with brown eyes and dark, curly hair. Her Daddy nick-named her “Skinny” which stuck for many years. It was told Mama was a little on the feisty side, loving to dance and get into her sister’s make-up. Mama often told about her fond memories in her life expressing how blessed she was. With the help of her aging parents, Mama pretty much raised all four children as a single parent. She struggled to make ends meet, working two and three jobs as a waitress to avoid public assistance. Later she managed to buy a new VW bus to drive 45 miles one way, in all kinds of Oklahoma weather, to a job with Stromberg-Carlson at the Springer Airpark. She paid for that VW by transporting other co-workers at a charge of $5 a week. Funny stories were told about surviving those trips riding in an overloaded VW on sheets of ice and other calamities. During the Oil Boom she went to work for Ron Elmore at Sanford’s Steakhouse. It was during this time she also was hired to work part-time at the Healdton Post Office. Mama lacked one year of high school to complete and did earn her G.E.D. She took college courses while working at the Ardmore Post Office full-time. She retired from the postal service as a postmaster while at the Springer Post Office after 25 years of postal service. Mama earned her promotions and way in this world the old-fashioned way, with honestly, hard work, and gratitude for a job.
Mama was preceded in death by both parents and all her siblings. But her greatest sorrow was losing her eldest son, Danny “Happy Jack” Southerland, in 1998.
She is survived by Danny’s son, Travis Jack Southerland and wife Tasha (Lone Grove), a second son, Kerry Don Southerland (Ringling) and his children Levi (fiancee’ Jill Pritchard) and Maggie Southerland; oldest daughter Rita Ann (Southerland) Zimmerman and Norris Box (Ardmore) and Rita’s two children Summer McDaniel (husband Max) and Gabe Zimmerman; daughter DaLana  Faye Dewbre and husband Gary (Chickasha) and their daughter Keri Ann Surber (husband Patrick). When her grandchildren starting arriving Mama became known as Mama Faye. Through the years many of her children and grandchildren’s friends began to affectionately call her Mama Faye as well. Mama Faye leaves behind seven great-grandchildren: Creed Southerland and Payton Hodges (Danny’s grandchildren), James, Autumn, and Layton Southerland (Donnie’s); Ethan and Emma McDaniel (Rita’s), Allie Faye and Karson Garrett Surber (DaLana’s). Mama is also survived by nieces and nephews that she loved dearly. Being devoted to her children, Mama often worked long hours only to attend various school activities at the end of that work day. She rarely missed any event in the lives of her children and did everything in her power to be supportive with encouragement and guidance. Each of her children had a special relationship with her and were just as devoted to her as she was them. She was Mama but she also became a best friend to each of her adult children. She was a rock for her family. Mama was compassionate and tender towards the suffering and generous to those in need. She stood firm on her ethics of honesty and integrity.  She was forgiving to those that had wounded her.  Mama knew these things are pleasing to the Lord whom she loved dearly. She liked to talk about Jesus and her Heavenly Home. Until her health declined, she was active in her home church, Ringling First Baptist. She felt close to and dearly loved her Sunday School classmates. Quick wit and the gift of being a captivating story-teller made Mama a natural entertainer. She loved to make people laugh, even during her hospital stays. She was an avid reader and wrote a couple of short stories. She loved making quilts for her children and grandchildren to remember her by.  Mama loved to prepare for the holidays, decorating the house and cooking incredible meals for her family. Perhaps because she was such a people-person, she was like a magnet drawing others to herself. She loved people from all walks of life. Yet Mama  could also be plain spoken and riled if someone messed with her family. That small 5’3”, 120 lb. heavy weight could transform into a ferocious Mama Bear. When her dark brown Cherokee eyes looked as if they could penetrate a brick wall, one would be in trouble. Mama feared no one and very little else, not even death. After fighting a strong fight  against cancer, Mama slipped over to her new eternal home on July 3, 2018 at the age of 87. She was brave even while enduring pain. She achieved much during her walk on this earth, making a difference in so many lives. Mama was always wise in discerning what was most important and a beautiful example to her children teaching values. (Proverbs 31:29-31)Though we grieve your passing, we rejoice that you have been released from pain and now abide with your Jesus. You are celebrating your reunion with your son Danny and other loved ones that you have missed for so long.  You promised to be waiting and watching for each of your children by Heaven’s window at our own destined time. Until that time, you will be thought of often leaving a part of yourself in our hearts. Gathering of family and friends for viewing will be Sunday afternoon, July 8, 2018, between 2-4 p.m. at the Alexander Chapel in Ringling. Funeral services will be the following Monday, July 9, 2018 at 10 a.m. at the First Baptist Church of Ringling with Pastor Ron Elmore and nephew Johnny Lee Blankenship officiating services. Interment will follow at the Ringling Memorial Cemetery.
Casket Bearers will be Travis Southerland, Levi Southerland, Gabe Zimmerman, Max McDaniel, Patrick Surber and Chris Lee.
Honorary Bearers are Mike Davis, John W. Davis, Les Davis, Wes Wade and Mickey Dewbre.
Condolences may be sent online at www.alexanderfuneralhome.org.