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Joan Elva Barnes Davidson, the only child of John and Mary Barnes, was born in Maryland and raised in Philadelphia, PA. She attended Claghorn Elementary and Gillespie Junior High. Joan graduated from Gratz High School, where she was a member of the Five Foot Femmes and the Tutoring Club.
She attended Cheyney State Teachers College where she was a founding member and the first basileus of the Chi Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority. After graduation, Joan began a forty-year career as an elementary and middle school teacher at the Steel, Smith, and John L. Kinsey schools in Philadelphia.
Mrs. Davidson married her college sweetheart, Donald Davidson, who was also a teacher and counselor for the Philadelphia School District. Together they had one child, Donna, who became an educator as well.
Joan served her community as a dedicated long-time educator and volunteer. As she continued her activities with Zeta Phi Beta, she also ran the Y Teens program at the Christian St. YMCA. For more than thirty years, she was a building representative for PFT union members at the John L. Kinsey School, and she served on the North-West Philadelphia Planning Committee for the School District of Philadelphia. Joan was active in TWIGS Inc. Youth Program and the Canaan Baptist Church foodshare program. In retirement, she volunteered with the Special Olympics as an assistant to her daughter, a teacher and speed-skating coach. Joan was also a member and secretary of the Germantown Civic League.
Joan left a legacy of caring for family, first, taking care of her father-in-law for years, and later, her mother and aunt as well. She considered Cedar Park Presbyterian her church home in more recent years and enjoyed ice-skating, traveling, singing, cooking and sports, as well as a very healthy sense of humor. Her love for her family, grandchildren, students and all of the people that she worked with will truly be missed forever.