Betty Davis of West River Road in Perrysburg, who helped form the local chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and was active in local organizations, died Saturday in St. Luke's Hospital, Maumee. She was 78.
She died from an apparent heart attack, her husband, John, said.
Mr. and Mrs. Davis helped organize a group in the Toledo area for children afflicted with cystic fibrosis, a congenital disease that affects the respiratory, digestive, and reproductive systems.
The organization eventually became known as the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Northwestern Ohio.
The couple had two children who died from the disease. John B. Davis, who was their first child, died in 1957 at the age of 11. Kathryn Davis Glaenzer died in 1987 at age 35.
“The cases were different. John had a very severe case [of the disease]. Kathryn had a light case. The antibiotics improved over the years, allowing Kathryn to survive longer,” Mr. Davis said.
The couple met while they were attending the University of North Carolina. They met in the first week of class in 1940.
Mrs. Davis, whose maiden name was Lucy Elizabeth Booker, grew up on a farm outside Atlanta in DeKalb County. She graduated in 1940 from Grahm-Eckies School, a private boarding school in Daytona Beach, Fla.
They were married in 1943 after they graduated from college. Mr. Davis went into the U.S. Marines and Mrs. Davis eventually moved to Perrysburg, where she lived with her mother-in-law until Mr. Davis returned home in 1946.
The couple and other families formed the local cystic fibrosis chapter in the 1950s after their son was diagnosed. Doctors at Cleveland University Hospital persuaded the families to form their own chapter.
“Cleveland University Hospital at the time was the leading hospital for cystic fibrosis. We were very fortunate to be that close to them,” Mr. Davis said. “They were very gracious. But they said we just can't keep taking you so you've got to form your own organization.”
The organization started a clinic at the former Mercy Hospital. The clinic was later absorbed by Toledo Hospital.
“We started with just a handful of families. I think now they are up to 120 patients,” he said.
Mrs. Davis also was one of the founding members of the Planned Parenthood of Northwest Ohio in the 1950s. She was active in the Junior League of Toledo and was a member of St. Timothy's Episcopal Church of Perrysburg.
Mrs. Davis collected antiques, quilts, and English porcelain figurines.
“She went to Great Britain once or twice a year to go through the countryside to buy things and bring them back,” he said. “She was a specialist in that. People would come to her to have her appraise or find out what they had.”
Surviving are her husband, John; daughters, Dr. F. Victoria Pfohl, Elizabeth Davis Hepker, and Margaret Marinaro; son, James, and six grandchildren.
Memorial services will be at 11 a.m. tomorrow in St. Timothy's Episcopal Church of Perrysburg. Arrangements are being handled by Witzler-Shank Funeral Home.
The family requests that any tributes be in the form of contributions to the charity of the donor's choice.