Peggy White-Davis, 55, died Jan. 11, 2018, following an illness that paradoxically inspired her to live more vibrantly than ever.
Peggy was born March 24, 1962, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to parents John Gordon "Gordy" White and Pauline Vivian (Beauchamp) White.
After completing public school, Peggy attended the University of Iowa, receiving a bachelor's in music performance with honors, and returned there to receive her music education (band directing) certification.
Peggy also received an associate of applied science degree in computer programming at Kirkwood Community College. Following this, she was employed at MCI/Worldcom in Cedar Rapids, as well as NCS Pearson in Iowa City. A vibrant, curious person, Peggy devoted her life to learning, serving and pursuing her passions, which friends and family knew included the St. Louis Cardinals and St. Louis Blues, cats, and finding that perfect cup of coffee surrounded by the perfect coffee atmosphere vibe.
Her other passions included music. White-Davis was a member of the clarinet section in the Cedar Rapids Municipal Band for several years, often soloing with the band at its summer concerts. For several years, she was a woodwinds judge at the spring All-City Music Contest in Cedar Rapids, and played in holiday concerts with the Metropolitan Orchestra at St. Mark's Lutheran Church in Cedar Rapids. She played in several orchestras supporting Theatre Cedar Rapids productions. She also participated in a variety of musical ensembles in Texas, Minnesota and Iowa.
White-Davis was a member of First Presbyterian Church in Cedar Rapids, where she was the hand bell choir director for several years. She taught band at all levels (elementary through junior college), as well as tutored many clarinet students at the following locations: Killeen Independent School District, Dallas; Santa Fe, Texas; Clinton, Iowa; and Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
White-Davis also was a professionally published arranger, having worked with Cherry Lane Publications (New York), arranging piano music for movies/performers such as "Shrek," "O-Town," theme songs for "B" thriller movies, and Linda Eder and Barbra Streisand. She also arranged music for the Hawkeye Marching Band as well as other musical groups.
She worked for Garrison Keillor (NPR) as his music librarian, supporting the "American Radio Company" music variety show in St. Paul, Minn., and New York City. Touring the country, she coordinated big band logistics in rehearsals as well as broadcasts, as well as arranged previously unpublished vintage music. She also performed with a kazoo band on one of the show's final episodes.
She played clarinet with several groups in the St. Louis area, including the St. Louis Wind Symphony, St. Louis Philharmonic Orchestra and the Dardenne Presbyterian Church Orchestra in Dardenne Prairie, Mo., where she was a member.
In 2003, she moved to St. Louis, Mo., and worked as a consultant for a variety of industries, including financial and IT. She had been a technical writer at Mastercard since 2008. White-Davis was active in the Mastercard MasterToasters club, having held roles of secretary, vice president-mentoring and vice president-public relations, as well as competing in speech contests at the area and division levels.
She began volunteering at Mercy Hospice in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, providing caregiver support to patients and families. At the same time, she assisted with the Iowa Radio Information Service (IRIS), helping to provide the service of reading stories from the local newspapers to those visually challenged patrons who were given access to receivers that could intercept these broadcasts, allowing them to stay in touch with the news around them.
Her passion for volunteering continued in St. Louis, where she was deeply committed to BJC Hospice. As a volunteer for 10-plus years there, she visited patients in the hospitals and nursing homes. Her greatest joy in the program was the BJC Hospice program, "Lumina," where she established relationships with many patients and families. She helped the patients in leaving their legacy, creating their "life review" (biography) and other memory treasures that lifted up and honored so many lives fully lived.
"Special gratitude is extended to friends Suzanne Doyle and Eileen Spinner with the BJC Hospice Lumina program for creating such an amazing outlet for me to give back to patients and their families and friends, and for blessing me with the opportunity to support this treasured organization."
In the last decade-plus of her life, Peggy celebrated her loving, mutually supportive and adventurous partnership with her husband, Garth Davis. He survives her, as do loved sisters, Nancy White and husband, Bob (Hollywood, M.D.), and Mary Ann Thompson and husband, Gordon; cherished niece and nephews, Katherine Thompson (Cedar Rapids), Matthew Thompson (Nashville) and Michael Thompson (Iowa City); treasured aunts, Mary Mullen and Betty Mullady (Dubuque); and several amazing cousins from the Dubuque area and beyond. In addition to blessed co-workers at all of her places of employment, she also had many lifelong and recently adopted friends who were her joy to connect and share amazing and soul-fulfilling experiences with.
Peggy was preceded in death by her parents and both sets of grandparents.
"I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere with ages and ages hence
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I
I took the one less traveled by.
And that has made all the difference." Robert Frost
Memorial gathering: Friday, Jan. 19, 2018, from 4 to 8 p.m. at Schrader Funeral Home, 14960 Manchester Rd., Ballwin, MO 63011. Funeral service: 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018, at Dardenne Presbyterian Church, 7400 S. Outer Rd. 364, Dardenne Prairie, MO 63368, with Pastor Dr. Larry Maley and the Rev. Dr. Andrew Kasberg officiating. Burial: Dardenne Presbyterian Church Cemetery.
Memorial donations may be made to BJC Hospice (Lumina), attn: Eileen Spinner, 1935 Beltway Dr., St. Louis, MO 63114.