Anna Maria Davis, welcomed people to aid center

April 11, 1994|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,Sun Staff Writer

Anna Maria Davis, the receptionist at the St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center for 18 years, died Wednesday of a heart attack after collapsing during her lunch hour. She was 56.

Mrs. Davis, who had lived in the Howard Park neighborhood for 27 years, was remembered by St. Ambrose colleagues as a warm, welcoming person to everyone who sought help at the center, a Baltimore nonprofit housing group.

"She was just the most gracious person I've ever met in my life," said Vincent P. Quayle, executive director of St. Ambrose.

"She sat at that front desk and just greeted people for 20 years, many of whom were coming in with severe housing problems," Mr. Quayle said. "To get them to feel warm and comfortable and welcome is just unique, and that was her great gift," he said.

Betty Collins, a crisis counselor at St. Ambrose, said, "I don't think there was anybody who called St. Ambrose in distress who wasn't comforted by Anna Davis on the phone. She always went that extra mile to help people get where they needed to be."

In addition to her receptionist duties, Mrs. Davis was chairwoman of the center's annual Black History Month celebration.

A native of Baltimore, the former Anna Wooden attended St. Peter Claver School on Fremont Avenue and St. Pius School on Edmondson Avenue. She graduated from St. Francis Academy on East Chase Street in 1957.

She began her career working at the old Stewart department store in Baltimore while she was still in high school. She also was an elevator operator at the Hecht Co. in Baltimore and a clerk at Lutheran Hospital of Maryland.

After graduating from high school, Mrs. Davis attended the YMCA Business College and in 1977 attended Strayer Business College.

In 1959, she married Howard L. Davis, who worked for Western Electric Co. He died in 1986.

Before joining St. Ambrose, Mrs. Davis worked for Alcolac Inc., a chemical company in Brooklyn Park, Bendix Field Engineering Corp. in Columbia and General Electric Co.

She was a member of the Howard Park Association and All Saints Roman Catholic Church on Liberty Heights Avenue.

A Mass of Christian burial was to be offered at 11 a.m. today at All Saints Roman Catholic Church, 4408 Liberty Heights Ave.

Mrs. Davis is survived by two daughters, Angela Davis Williams of Ellicott City and Leslie Davis of Howard Park; her mother,

TC Constance Wooden Shelby of Druid Hill; and three grandchildren.

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