Clarence Belve Wyatt Davis, 98, died March 30 in Hattiesburg, MS. He was born March 13, 1915 in a log cabin on Possum Walk Creek near Five Mile, Cleburne County, AR, the oldest of 11 children of Boyd Len and Edna Cora Sisemore Davis. His childhood was spent helping his father farm.
His opportunities for education were limited during the Depression. After finishing 10th grade at age 16, he was hired to teach grades 1-8 in the traditional one-room rural schools of Cleburne County. He was finally able to receive his diploma from Heber Springs High School in 1936 at age 21. He graduated from the University of Arkansas with a degree in Agriculture in 1940.
That summer, he married Mabel Helen Roberson of Wilburn, AR. From 1940 through 1949, he taught Vocational Agriculture in Mineral Springs, Lakeside Hot Springs, Prescott, and Arkadelphia High Schools in Arkansas, except for an interruption for military service in WWII. In 1943, he enlisted in the Navy and was selected for officer training. He served as Personnel Officer with the rank of Lieutenant JG until his discharge in 1946.
In 1949, Clarence was hired by Citizen National Bank of Arkadelphia as Farm Loan Officer, the beginning of a long career in banking. From 1956-1958, he was Executive Vice President of the Bank of West Memphis. He then joined McIlroy Bank of Fayetteville, becoming President in 1959. He served in that capacity for 6 years.
In 1965, Clarence and a group of businessmen of Hattiesburg, Mississippi founded Southern National Bank. He served as its first and only president until 1977, when SNB merged with Deposit Guaranty National Bank of Jackson. He retired from DGNB in 1985 at age 70.
Clarence enjoyed his retirement—woodworking, gardening, golfing, fishing, genealogy, and babysitting grandchildren. His wife of 52 years, Mabel, died in 1992. In 1994, he married Mary Walker Humphries. They were married almost 19 years.
Clarence was interested in economic development, and was involved in civic groups in all the communities in which he lived, especially Chambers of Commerce and Lions Clubs. He was also a very active Methodist, serving on the Board and as a long-time Sunday school teacher at Main Street Methodist Church in Hattiesburg.
Besides his first wife Mabel, Clarence was predeceased by two sisters, three infant brothers, and his stepson, Chris Humphries. He is survived by his second wife Mary Humphries Davis, two daughters, Jane Marino (John) of Springdale, AR and Mary Halliwell (David) of Hattiesburg; a stepdaughter, Deana Flak of Conroe, TX; five grandchildren, Roman Marino (Esther) of Marbella, Spain, Camille Noble (Drew) of Palm Beach Gardens, FL, Sarah Carver (Brian) of Charleston, SC, Harry Halliwell of Hattiesburg, and Mary Lucas Halliwell of Starkville, MS; a step grandson, Jason Humphries of Hattiesburg; four great-grandchildren, Charlie, Scott, and Zachary Noble and Mercedes Marino del Castillo; two step great-granddaughters, Haley and Emily Humphries; and two brothers and 3 sisters.
Page 2 of 2 - Visitation was 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM Wednesday, April 3 at Hulett-Winstead Funeral Home. The funeral was Thursday, April 4 at Main Street Methodist Church at 11:00 AM, visitation starting at 10:00 AM. Interment will be held at a later date at Cleburne County Memorial Gardens in Heber Springs, AR. Memorials may be sent to the church for Aldersgate Missions or to a charity of your choice.