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Catawba Alumnus Celebrates 100th Birthday at School He Helped Create

October 19, 2009

Category: Alumni

By Kathy Chaffin, ;

DavisDavid B. Davis celebrated his 100th birthday Friday with the students and staff of the school he helped create. ;

North Hills Christian School went all out to celebrate the milestone birthday of its last remaining founder. Davis, who goes by Dave, and his family founded North Hills in 1967 with the late Roger Harrison and William Ryburn and their families. ;

Close to 300 students, staff, parents and board members attended the party in the school's gymnasium. Retired North Hills employee Carolyn Barker picked Davis up at his Salisbury home and drove him to the celebration. ;

Students began streaming into the gym shortly after his 1 p.m. arrival, greeting Davis with hugs, cards and letters. His family members, neighbors and friends joined in the celebration. ;

Tim Norris, North Hills parent and chairman of the school board, opened the event with a prayer, thanking God for the "tremendous testimony" of Davis' life. Because of the school he helped found, Norris said, "Thousands of young people have been blessed with a wonderful Christian education and are now ambassadors for Christ around the world." ;

Amy Steiner, who taught at North Hills for 32 years, talked about some things she had observed about Davis. "I've always been touched by his evident love and knowledge of God's Word,"she said. "He is a prayer warrior. He has kept North Hills Christian School before the Lord in prayer." ;

Afterward, students in grades 1-5 lined up to form the number "100" on the bleachers and sang an upbeat version of "Jesus Loves You" with sign language. ;

Younger students made cards for Davis while the older ones wrote letters telling him how much he has meant to the school. Freshman Katherine Paul expressed her birthday wishes for him in a letter: ;

"I could wish you a long life, but God has already given it to you. I could wish you to be surrounded by loving friends, but I hope you realize you already have them. I could wish you the ability to change someone's life for the better, but you've already changed mine. ;

"I now realize that all I can wish for you on your birthday is that you know how much this school means to me. You have been an angel for students like me. Because of North Hills, my future is bright; I ask God that yours is, as well." ;

In an interview at his home on Wednesday, Davis said he was proud of North Hills and how much it has grown. "I'm really thankful to the good Lord for that," he said. "North Hills is a Christian school. I'm not criticizing everyday public schools, but at this school, all of the teachers are Christians, and they're teaching those boys and girls the real truths they need to know from the Bible." ;

Davis said North Hills' students will have the Christian background to go out and "be seeds, you might say, for the future." ;

"It's one thing to know the Bible," he said, "but it's another to teach it. They'll be teaching somewhere else, and by being born-again Christians themselves, they'll be able to empower other boys and girls." ;

As for the school's future, Davis said he's confident that the Lord will continue to bless the school because it praises His Name and teaches His Word. ;

Helping to found North Hills is just one of Davis' many accomplishments. A native of Wilson, he began his college education at Vanderbilt University and Peabody College in Nashville, Tenn., but had to drop out because of the Great Depression. ;

Once he had returned home, Davis went with his brother to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, but still didn't graduate. Instead, Davis went to work for the N.C. Highway Commission as an inspector, checking the stone in quarries to be used for major building projects. ;

During that time, he met Ruth Brock, the woman he would marry on June 13, 1937. ;

It was an assignment to inspect stone in the Woodleaf Quarry for the construction of Interstate 85 that brought the Davises to Salisbury. At that point, Dave returned to school at Catawba College, where one of his favorite classes was with physics professor Dr. Milton Braun.  Read more...




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