Tribute to Mary Davidson

Tribute to Mary Davidson: given at Burnley Crematorium on February 25th, 2021.

 

What a privilege it is for us to pay tribute to Mary. I offer my thanks to those from her family, her church and from her circle of friends who have helped to create this tribute. Time will not allow us to express all we feel. Born 81 years ago in Weir to Ron and Olive...a sister to Delia and Brenda; a loving wife to Bobby; a beloved mother to James and Robert; a grandmother; a friend and help to many; a willing servant in the Lord’s church...and more besides, Mary’s life, by any measure, was a rich tapestry indeed...

 

Rooted deep in the soil of a respected, industrious and loving family, the real adventure of Mary’s life began in her school days at Lowther College in Wales. It was there that Mary thrived academically and as a gifted sportswoman, whose captaincy of just about every school team she played for, would lead to the awarding of the famed “red blazer” and eventually, the position of Deputy Head Girl. There, Mary made life-long friends who were instantly attracted by Mary’s natural ability to make them laugh with her “wicked sense of humour” and a soon-to-be legendary penchant for “dormitory pillow-swapping” and other practical jokes...and her shock of thick, auburn hair!

 

But Mary did more than entertain and, throughout her life, she always made people feel welcomed...she befriended them. Mary was more than japes and jokes. She knew her own mind, too; gifted in needlework, Mary never (once) turned up her children’s trousers...she persuaded someone else that they should do that! Middle-sister-Mary was always able (I’ll be polite!) to delegate.

 

On leaving school Mary worked in administration for the family firm of Hargreaves and Crowther in Bacup along with other local manufacturers. Mary Crowther married Bobby Davidson in 1969. They had two gifted sons, James and Robert of whom they were rightly proud. Later, Mary and Bobby set up J.R.Davidson and Son shoe shop in Rawtenstall. They were known and loved in the town, and successful.

 

Work, and a belief in life-long learning, played a significant role in Mary’s life. Mary would turn her hand from all-things-secretarial to book-keeping and she became proficient in IT, all of which skills would serve her well in family, business and in Sion Baptist Church where Mary served the LORD with a dedication and good humour as a baptised member and as Church Secretary for many years.

 

But, life isn’t, of course, all adventures, escapades and success. Mary and her family became acquainted with their own fair share of disappointment and grief. It was, no doubt, a deep trust in a loving God that enabled Mary to accept with considerable dignity firstly, the failure of a business venture and then, much worse, the shock of Bobby’s untimely death in the prime years of a good and strong marriage. In truth (and small wonder), Mary never truly recovered from Bobby’s death...

 

Mary would face her own battles with ill-health, but from all that I can gather (and even from the brief glimpses I have seen in the 6 years I have known her), Mary recognised just how blessed she was... to be surrounded by a good family, a strong church fellowship and with work to do, all of which gave continued strength, sustenance and meaning to her life.

 

Perhaps the greatest thing we can (ever) say about someone’s life is that we are better people for having known them and been around them, for having journeyed with them. We can, each one of us in our unique way, say exactly that about Mary...

 

We can say, in spite of what happened to Mary in later life, that she left special things around her; special people...you are here this afternoon, after all; special memories...and if there are some who

never met the Mary most of you knew, you can ask about her...you can learn about her. Bobby and Mary leave good things in their wake. For this we can and should be truly thankful...

 

Mary Davidson’s life is not defined by the illness that, in so many cruel ways took her away from some years ago. No, Mary is defined by all that she was...fallen and fabulous...irreverent but devout; and to her family, I say: remember all that she continues to be... in your hearts and minds...in your love of learning and music and the world around you...in your knowledge and love of the God Mary knows...

 

John had Great Big Waterproof Boots on; John had a Great Big Waterproof Hat; John had a Great Big Waterproof Mackintosh — And that (Said John) Is That. (Happiness, by AA Milne)

 

Life doesn’t consist of wealth and fame. It can’t all be happy, either. But maybe, on balance, you might decide that Mary’s life can be defined by one word (whatever it means)...Happiness...this, ultimately, is what we feel; this is what she brought us and left us...

 

Reverend M. M. Faris-Roberson

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Address: given at Burnley Crematorium on February 25th, 2021.

 

“In the place just right...” (Based on Psalm 122; Luke 2: 29-32; Revelation 21: 1 – 7)

 

When James and I first spoke about his mother Mary’s death, he said something memorable to me: “This is not the end of everything...it is the beginning of something.” In one sentence, James described the Christian hope.

 

The Psalmist describes the experience of the pilgrims when, weary at their journey’s end, they stood within the gates of the city of peace. They felt relieved and overjoyed...

 

And gates are only opened so that the traveller can pass through them...

And those gates are only closed so that the old order of things...death, mourning, crying, and pain...and thirst and restlessness...so that those imposters may be kept outside...

 

Once inside, all the things God’s people dreamed about, and prayed for...all the things they sung about...and only ever glimpsed; now they make sense finally...

 

Just when, in our defeated times, we wondered if death might be the end of everything; when we thought that “that was that” ...we find that No!

 

It is indeed the beginning of something new and very special...

 

It is a great relief for Mary (and for us) that she finds herself exactly where she ought to be...in the place of safety and victory with the Lord she can see and hear...in the place just right!

 

In the place reserved for His children. In the house of the Lord, not made with hands, but eternal in the heavens!

 

Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!

 

MFR (25-02-21)


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