Jeanette W. Davis, 96

Fri, 07/22/2022 - 12:45pm
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Jeanette W. Davis, known as “Gene” by friends and family, died peacefully on July 9, 2022 after a brief illness at the age of 96. Gene was born in New Haven, Conn. She raised a family in Orange, Conn, lived on Block Island, R.I. for 25 years, in Mystic, Conn., and most recently in Rockland, Maine. Gene is predeceased by her husband George B. Davis Jr. She leaves behind three children and their spouses: George B. Davis III and Celine W. Davis of Block Island, R.I.; Elizabeth E. Davis and Stephen Polasky of Arden Hills, Minn; and Barbara Davis and Chris Facq of Camden, Maine; and five grandchildren: Peder M. Davis, Celine E. Davis, Daniel A. Polasky (Melissa Haskell), Andrew D. Polasky and Alex D. Facq.  

Gene spent her early years living in Morris Cove, New Haven on the ocean. She attended Nathan Hale school and graduated from Mt. Holyoke College in 1948. When she was young Gene loved to play tennis and was an accomplished figure skater. While the bulk of her career was spent teaching kindergarten in the public school system of Hamden Conn., she also taught in Springfield, Mass. and Block Island R.I.  

Gene and George retired to Block Island, a dream come true. After 10 days of retirement from the Hamden school system, Gene was offered the job as kindergarten teacher at the Block Island School which she took and kept for 10 years from 1982 to 1992. In addition, she started the first ever badminton league on Block Island, mentoring younger players and creating lasting memories for many. She loved clamming, and well into her 80s could be found in Great Salt Pond in a pair of waders. She was a longtime member of the TNS Shellfish Commission, ran a B&B, and was active in the Harbor Church community. 

Gene was a fiercely independent, strong woman with a generous heart, having been raised by her mother and grandmother after her mother, Frances Jeanette Wright, was widowed at a young age. Her happiest years were spent on Block Island, the place she always considered home. Her last visit to the island in 2019 however, ended with a fall and a nighttime trip off the island on a Coast Guard boat in the fog. Knowing the Rescue Squad members (or their parents) by name helped her feel she was still part of the community. The family is grateful for the care the Rescue Squad and Medical Center provided that evening and to her and George over the years. 

Donations to the B.I. Rescue Squad and B.I. Medical Center in honor of her memory are requested in lieu of flowers. A Memorial Service and Celebration of Life will be held at the Block Island Maritime Institute (BIMI) on Thursday August 25, 2022 at 4 p.m.