Ann Davis has been leaving her mark on Shawnee for many decades — this week she is leaving her job for retirement.

Ann Davis has been leaving her mark on Shawnee for many decades — this week she is leaving her job for retirement.

Davis is being honored with a retirement party Sunday, hosted by Ell's Jewelry. The event will be come-and-go from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Shawnee Country Club, 2501 Augusta Drive.

Though Davis has a much longer list of things she's done than she has plans for what to do next, she is certain to land on her feet.

The soon-to-be 83-year-old Shawnee resident began her work career at he tender age of 12, selling watermelons.

Not long after she was peddling milk to different stores in the area.

Selling children's clothes was something she did back in the day with her friend now-Mayor Richard Finley, she said. In the 1960s came a job at Prices Bootery; by the '70s she was working in a boutique, and eventually she spent many years in her own store downtown, called Ann & You.

Ell's Jewelry became Davis' employer in 2000, where she worked for 12 years, left for a time, and then went back in 2016 — until now. She also is employed at Rising Star Gymnastics a couple times a week.

She said she's not sure what lies on the other side of retirement, likely a new job at some point.

“I'm not sure what I'd do with myself without some kind of work to do,” she said.

Faith 7

Davis and her husband, Arnold, were the driving forces behind Shawnee's longtime school, Faith 7.

The couple's firstborn daughter Dana, born in the summer of 1956, had Down syndrome.

The school became a reality soon after, established in a rental building in town and touting seven students. But in 1963 the group worked to erect their own building.

Davis said the entire community became involved, buying concrete blocks for 26 cents apiece.

“Even the school children helped out,” she said. “They would use their allowance or lunch money.”

It took less than a month — 28 days— to secure enough blocks to construct the school.

She said area contractors donated their time and skill sets to get the school completed.

Next came the need for a school bus.

In 1964, the mother of famed local astronaut Leroy Gordon Cooper Jr. — Hattie Lee Cooper — was named Oklahoma's Mother of the Year, which earned her a trip to the World Fair in New York that year. Cooper knew of the efforts of Faith 7 and their goal to buy a bus, and wasted no time sharing the school's story with everyone there.

“We got that school bus with trading stamps,” Davis said. “We received trading stamps from people all over the United States, because they had heard about our need.”

Davis said the school also was able to buy a drinking fountain with the trading stamps.

Faith 7 is still in operation and thriving at 301 S. Kennedy, in Shawnee.

Other Shawnee projects

Davis said her involvement in helping create the Celebration of Life Park, at 301 E. Main St., centered around a goal to honor and celebrate the lives of those who have made a difference in someone else's life.

Davis also was the one who sold some 400 lighted decorative snowflakes that have adorned Shawnee streets for many years around the holidays.

“OG&E wired all those poles at no charge when we did the project,” she said.

A longtime Junior Service Leaguer, Davis also has spent many years involved in organizations like the Sister Cities, Salvation Army Women's Auxiliary and Beta Sigma Phi.

Awards

Over the years, through active community involvement, Davis has received multiple awards, such as the Kiwanis Club Citizen of the Year Award in 1979; a Business Person of the Year in 1992 and the Gordon Richards Service Award in 1999 — both through the local Chamber of Commerce; and the Diana Award in 1994, an international service award.

“I have just felt so blessed,” she said.

Party

Hosted by Ell's Jewelry, owner Kent Ellwanger, along with his wife and staff, are honoring Davis with a retirement party Sunday.