Life Story / Obituary
Generous and fun-loving, Annalee Davis lived a life rich in family and friends. Quick to share her many talents with her loved ones she was a blessing in the lives of those around her. Although we will miss her delicious cooking, her lovely singing voice and her beautiful soul, we will remember her fondly each time we carve a pumpkin, gaze upon a piece of her artwork or one of her beloved dolls or decorate a cake. She will be greatly missed and fondly remembered.
With American unemployment rates beginning to fall, 1934 was the turning point of the Great Depression. Many families continued to struggle for years to come, but it was the start of the light at the end of the tunnel. Americans sought respite from those difficult times by listening to the likes of Duke Ellington and The Glenn Miller Band on the radio and by splurging occasionally with a trip to the movie theater. Many flocked to see It Happened One Night starring Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert, the smash hit of that year. For Walter and Monna Caswell Davis, the anticipation of the arrival of their newest family member gave them much to look forward to. On March 17, 1934, they welcomed a daughter, Annalee Darlene, into their home in Queen City, Missouri. She and her siblings, Claude, Morris (Tiny), Loyd, Donald Gene (Tuff) and Little Dorothy completed the Davis family.
Walter provided for his family by working on the construction of wooded water towers which required him to travel. While they were in Nebraska, Monna cooked for local ranchers to help make ends meet. Annalee’s mom was the oldest of 14 children and when one of her family members in Michigan was experiencing a difficult pregnancy, Monna was beckoned to bring Annalee with her to Michigan to help out. Monna found work there doing cleaning and ironing and eventually the rest of the family joined the two of them and they made Michigan their home.
As a teen, Annalee did her part to help support her family. She found work at a movie theater in the area selling tickets and making popcorn. After graduating from Redford High School, Annalee’s Aunt Ruth heard that Ford Motor Company was hiring and she took her there to apply. Annalee grudgingly complied, but after applying, she decided she wasn’t interested in the position. Aunt Ruth had other ideas though, and she sent Annalee right back in to accept the job! Though Annalee didn’t realize it at the time, it was one of the wisest decisions of her life. She would continue to work at Ford for 38 years! Before he moved to Chrysler, Lee Iacocca was demoted and Annalee worked as his secretary for three days. She was also the first woman to hold the position of a Parts Buyer.
Though Annalee never married nor had children, she cherished her relationships with her eight nieces and nephews, her 15 great nieces and nephews and her 25 great-great nieces and nephews. She loved them unconditionally and treated them to trips and movies. Her nieces learned the fine art of cake decorating from Annalee and she used her talents as a seamstress to sew beautiful outfits for them as well.
Annalee loved holidays, especially Halloween and Christmas. She was the resident “Witch” at the Wilson barn and she has an unforgettable cackle that delighted all of the children. Every year, a week before Halloween, Annalee hosted a party for the family to carve pumpkins. She would purchase 30 or 40 pumpkins and once they were carved, they would line her whole front yard that was decorated to the hilt with a giant spider web, a pet cemetery and graves! Cars came down her street, just to see her display. Decorations at Christmas time were just as elaborate and in 1970, she won the contest for the best-decorated yard.
In addition to her amazing decorations, Annalee also made holidays special with her delicious meals, sometimes feeding as many as 30 people! She loved to cook and spent many hours pouring over cookbooks. She even volunteered as the kitchen chef for her church, cooking for the entire church every Wednesday. She also had a beautiful voice and sang solos and in the church choir, as well as at some of her nieces’ and nephews’ weddings.
It was on one of these Wednesdays that Annalee met someone who would become an important part in her life. Roger Ponder was assisting in the church kitchen and he and Annalee hit it off immediately. They became best of friends and eventually were considered an “item”. Roger is a singer and songwriter and he put some of the songs that Annalee wrote like ‘The Spotted Hound” to music. Though they never married, they enjoyed each other’s company and had many great times together. Annalee was a three-time cancer survivor and Roger was there for her during thick and thin, taking her to doctors’ appointments, remodeling her kitchen, and lovingly caring for her even in the most difficult of times.
Another person who was a blessing in Annalee’s life was Beverley Joyce. She and Annalee met as teenagers at church and they have been best friends for over 60 years. They worked together at Ford and were neighbors, living just a few houses apart.
In her spare time, Annalee enjoyed dabbling in art. Her works in oil, chalk and pencil won many first-place ribbons at art shows in the area. Her favorite subjects were animals, especially cats.
Another of Annalee’s favorite pastime that carried over from her youth was collecting dolls. Her collection of over 100 dolls included Princess Diana and Prince Charles in their wedding clothes, Rhett Butler and Scarlett O’Hara as well as some of the original Cabbage Patch dolls. In her bedroom, was a specially-made cabinet to safely store all of her treasured dolls. Her brother, Loyd, built her a two-story dollhouse and her nephew, Mike, added electricity. Annalee decorated it beautifully like a real house, with working chandeliers and all! All of her nieces and nephews have dolls and/or her paintings in their homes that will always be special reminders of her.
Annalee was an avid reader and though she loved reading books of all types, murder mysteries were her favorite. She never ceased to amaze Roger when she always figured out who did it! That was until he caught her reading the last chapter first!
There was a special place in Annalee’s heart for animals. She and her cocker spaniel, Taffy, had matching Easter outfits each year that were loving sewn by Annalee. She also had a special cat, Ginger, who was cremated and will be buried with her. When it was time to move to a new home that would provide the care that Annalee required, she chose Ashford Court because she was allowed to take her cat, Missy, with her. (As a side note, Missy is in need of a loving home.)
The staff at Ashford Court, Homestead Health Care, and Angela Hospice took wonderful care of Annalee. They all loved her. One of the young ladies who cared for her shared that Annalee even gave her advice on her boyfriend! They were definitely all angels at the end of her life and the family thanks them for everything they did to comfort her each day.
Annalee gave her life to Jesus when she was young. She never went to bed without reading her Bible. She truly lived a Christ-like life. He was first in her life and you could see His light shine through her. She is rejoicing with Jesus now!
Annalee D. Davis, 85, passed away May 13, 2019. Loving companion of Roger Ponder. Beloved daughter of the late Walter and Monna. Adored sister of the late Claudius, Morris “Tiny”, Loyd, Donald Gene “Tuff” and Little Dorothy. Cherished aunt of Cathie (Alan) McClure, Donald Davis, Edwin (Karen) Davis, Debra Edbaurer, Patricia Davis and the late Mike Davis, Lyle Davis and Richard Davis. Also survived by numerous great and great-great nieces and nephews; and lifelong friend and work companion Beverly Joyce. A visitation will be held Thursday, 3:00-8:00 pm and a funeral service on Friday, 10:00am at Neely-Turowski Funeral Home, 30200 Five Mile Road, Livonia. Donations may be made to Angela Hospice.