Mary Helen Davis was born in Atlanta, Georgia, where her father was stationed in the U.S. Navy. As a child, she lived at various Navy bases throughout the country, including Great Lakes, Illinois, in the Chicago area, where she spent most of her childhood. Mary Helen graduated from Hyde Park High School. After graduation, she attended Chicago Teacher’s College where she earned a bachelor of arts degree in Education. After moving to Cleveland in the early 1960s, Mary Helen met her future husband, Loxie Davis. They were married in 1961 and remained so until Mr. Davis’ passing in 2001.
Council Conwell and Cleveland Mayor Jackson recognized Ms. Mary Helen Davis
at the 2018 City of Cleveland Senior Day event on May 24.
Mary has three children, Derrick, Deidra and Dwayne, six grandchildren and three greatgrandchildren. In 1971, Mary Helen began teaching in the Cleveland Municipal School District. She taught reading at Miles Standish and Chesterfield Elementary. She also taught at St. Malachi’s and at St. Stephens. After retiring from teaching in 1984, she began working with the Cuyahoga County Fair Housing Administration and was eventually promoted to Fair Housing Administrator, a position she held when she retired in 2002. Mary Helen is very engaged and involved in her community and is an active member of her church, Greater Abyssinia Baptist Church, which she joined in 1961.
She is the vice president of the Deaconess Board, a member of the Missionary Society and works with the Evangelistic Choir, which she organized. Every year, Mary Helen plans the church’s MLK Gala, which honors the work of The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The event recognizes local and national leaders who have made significant contributions in the struggles for justice and civil rights. Mary Helen is also active with the Cuyahoga Democratic Party and has been the president of the Parmelee Avenue Street Club for the last three years. She is a member and the chaplain of Eta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., Gamma Chapter. She is also a member of the Cleveland Chapter of Chums, Inc., a nationally recognized organization that promotes friendship and camaraderie among women. In 2002, Mary Helen was elected president of AARP Ohio, the first African American woman to hold that position. When asked what she loves most about Cleveland, she said the rich diversity of races and cultures. “I just love Cleveland,” she said. “My family is here and I find Cleveland as a great place just to enjoy life.”