Rosetta Mumford Davis, 79, social worker active in church and community

April 11, 2001|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Rosetta Mumford Davis, a retired social worker in Baltimore schools who was active in church and civic affairs, died Sunday of pneumonia at Union Memorial Hospital. She was 79 and a longtime resident of East 32nd Street near Lake Montebello.

Miss Davis joined the city Department of Public Welfare in the early 1940s and then the Department of Education, where she worked with students and parents to resolve problems. She retired in 1981.

"She worked with my father in the Department of Public Welfare as a secretary and went to college at night to get her degree in social work," said Baltimore Circuit Judge Thomas J. S. Waxter Jr. "There were few opportunities for African-American woman in those years, and what was available was social work, education or library science."

Miss Davis was born in Hamlet, N.C., and moved to Baltimore in the late 1920s. After earning her high school equivalency degree at night, she graduated from the Cortez Peters Business School.

She earned a bachelor's degree in social science from Loyola College and a master's degree in education and psychology from the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Work. She also did graduate work at the Johns Hopkins and Yale universities.

A deeply religious woman, Miss Davis was a charter member in 1930 of Good Hope Baptist Church, now Pleasant Hope Baptist Church, on East Belvedere Avenue.

At Pleasant Hope, she had been president of the junior and senior Missionary Circles, a teacher and superintendent of the Sunday school, director of Christian education from 1967 to 1983, and a member of the junior and sanctuary choirs.

She was a board member at Pleasant Hope and the United Baptist Missionary Convention of Maryland and had served as secretary to the United Women of Maryland.

"She was the center of the church and a leader there. She had faith in the Lord and lived it," said Judge Waxter.

"She was also very civic-minded and involved in her community," said Judge Arrie W. Davis, a nephew and member of the Maryland Court of Special Appeals.

Miss Davis was active with the York Road Planning Area, Govans Improvement Association and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. She also raised scholarship money for Morgan State University students.

Judge Davis described her as "very gregarious woman," who had an "incredible ability in working with people and politicians."

Miss Davis also was the inspiration behind the Big M Club of family members -- Mumford was her mother's maiden name -- and helped plan annual reunions.

She enjoyed entertaining family and friends and gardening.

Every year, Miss Davis presided over a Christmas party for friends, former colleagues in social work and church members.

"She was a great lady who had thousands of friends," said Judge Waxter.

Services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Friday at Pleasant Hope Baptist Church, 430 E. Belvedere Ave.

Miss Davis is survived by two sisters, Betty Davis Beasley of Baltimore and Ruth Davis Beasley of Columbia; and many nephews and nieces.

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