Margaret Smyth McKissick Davis -- wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, equestrian, businesswoman, hostess and consummate southern lady -- died peacefully in her home on Tuesday. She was with her devoted caregiver, Monica Foulks, and family who gathered to express not only their love but their deep admiration and respect for this highly regarded lady whose generous spirit touched everyone she met. One of her greatest gifts was to make people of all ages and from all walks of life, even strangers, genuinely feel that he or she was the most important person she’d ever met. Indiscriminate in her generosity of spirit, she always sought to improve the lives of others through warmth, encouragement and opportunity where possible.
Born on June 13, 1923 in Greenville to textile manufacturer Ellison McKissick and his wife Jean, she was raised with her three siblings on the family’s core values of industry and hard work. She attended public schools in Greenville and was graduated in 1941 from the Spence School in New York City.
During her youth, she earned a reputation as one of the highly accomplished riders of three-gaited show horses throughout the southeast, ultimately showing in Madison Square Garden. Her horsemanship was recognized with scores of first prizes in venues such as Tryon, where a winner’s trophy was named “The Margaret McKissick Cup.”
In 1954 she settled in Columbia upon marrying John Bratton Davis, Jr., a lawyer and then Chairman of the State Development Board who would become Chief Judge of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of South Carolina. Their 50 years together until his death in 2004 was testament to both a successful marriage and a genuine partnership.
In 1978, Margaret and her daughter Jean started “Non(e)such”, an antique and gift shop to which she remained devoted for forty years. Her co-workers and customers considered themselves extended family with her, and she with them.
Margaret’s favorite place away from Columbia and Non(e)such was Linville, NC where she hiked nearly every mountain trail, earning the nickname “Speedy”.
She served on the boards of many civic and charitable organizations including as a Regent of Kenmore House in Fredericksburg, Virginia, the Palmetto Garden Club and the Colonial Dames of South Carolina.
She was predeceased by her husband, Judge Davis; her sister, Mary McLean McKissick Armfield; her brothers, Anthony Foster McKissick II and Ellison Smyth McKissick, Jr. She is survived by her children, Sherwood M. Cleveland and his wife Kathleen; William Choice Cleveland, III and his wife Anne; Jean Davis Bruton and her husband John. She is also survived by her lifelong friend, Vernon Cheeseboro, her grandchildren, Sherwood M. Cleveland, Jr. and his wife Kelly; Braden C. Bergan and her husband David; Henry Edmunds Cleveland; Margaret C. Stokenberry and her husband Corby; William C. Cleveland, IV and his wife Grace; Margaret Bruton Mood and her husband John; John Connor Cleveland; John Calvin Bruton, III and his wife Sara. Great-grandchildren are Walker Fisk Pitts; Phoebe Susan Bergan; Anna Kenly Bergan; Carol League Cleveland; William C. Cleveland,V; Sherwood M. Cleveland, III; Jean McKissick Mood; and Celena Glenn Stokenberry.
A memorial service was held on Thursday, January 11, 2018 at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, followed by a reception in Satterlee Hall. Dunbar Funeral Home, Devine Street Chapel, is assisting the family.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be made to Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, 1100 Sumter Street, Columbia, S.C. 29201, the Crossnore School and Children’s Home, 100 DAR Drive, Crossnore, N.C. 28616 or a charity of one’s choice.
Please sign the online guestbook at www.dunbarfunerals.com.