Pastors' Memoirs

Donald Ray Davidson, 1936 – 2006

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Don was born in Columbus, Ohio, on Nov. 6, 1936, to Percy and Olive Davidson. Even at an early age it was evident he was a natural born salesman with his good humor and laughter.

Don gave his heart to Christ during a revival in Mount Olivet UMC in Concord, Va., as a teenager. He followed through with baptism and membership. In 1967, Don was painting the outside of his house. He came into the house and announced to me saying, "Ann, God just talked to me and I believe he is calling me to preach." My reply, "Oh, yeah. You’ve been in the sun too long. "Our daughter was only 4 months old, Chris, 3 years and Mark, 4 years old.

In 1971, Don preached at our home church in Columbus, Ohio. His sermon title was "Obedience is better than sacrifice." (1 Samuel 15:22) At the end of the sermon, he remarked that if God could find a way for him to go into the ministry with a wife and three small children, he’d go. Shortly, thereafter, the wheels began turning in the presence of his uncle and cousin, the Rev. Fred Davidson and the Rev. Ron Davidson. They told him how he could go to college, preach, live in a parsonage and get paid. Soon thereafter, an opening at a charge in the Virginia Conference became available. Within a week we left Galena, Ohio, and drove to Farmville, Va., where Don met with the Rev. Jake Mast. After the meeting, Rev. Mast told Fred, "I was afraid not to appoint him. He has the hand of God on him. It was evident through the spirit."

In October 1971 , Don was appointed to West Campbell Charge. He served rural churches in Southside Virginia except for one year in Culpeper. Don served The United Methodist Church with 34 years of service.

Don was never a scholar in high school, but he really looked forward to completing his educational requirements as a pastor in The United Methodist Church. He completed the Course of Study at Duke in July 1976. In June 1973, he was ordained deacon and in 1977, associate member.

Don served the Lord in civil organizations as well as religious organizations — from police and Ruritan Club chaplain to chairman of Department of Social Services.

He retired in 2003. He wanted to help his colleagues in ministry receive pastoral care; so, in conjunction with the Rev. Vance Midget, hospital chaplain, they put together programs for all the ministers in the Halifax area. Don was also active in the Halifax Ministers’ Association. After six months of retirement, Don pastored Union Christian Church as parttime work.

Don really loved people. He was a great salesman for the Lord. He was a salesman for Mrs. Paul’s fish when God called him to be his salesman. He was a great fisher of men, bringing many souls to Christ with his love of the Lord, his good sense of humor, deep, infectious laughter, and his knowledge of the Bible. He was known for his uplifting and comforting funerals and his joy in performing weddings.

Don had many medical problems but he wanted to continue to preach. He had a stroke in November 2005, but was able to continue to press on. Before being put on the respirator, one day after being admitted to the hospital on Nov. 3, Don 12

said, "I am ready to go. This body has just given out." After being in the hospital for 31 days, Don died. He is now completely healed and in the presence of the Lord. Luke 4:15 reads, "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has called me to preach good news."

Don is survived by his wife, Ann; son, Christopher Ray Davidson; and daughter, Melanie Ann Watts. He was preceded in death by a son, Donald Mark Davidson.

— Ann Davidson




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Background photos courtesy of VDOT.

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