Nell Josephine Shepherd Davis




LEICESTER – Nell Josephine Shepherd Davis, 84, of Leicester, slipped peacefully into the arms of her loving Savior on February 17th, 2017 at the John F. Keever Solace Center after a heroic battle with cancer.

Nell was born March 3, 1932 to the late Thomas Grady Shepherd and Mittie Wilson Shepherd and she was preceded in death by her loving husband, Ashley Ford Davis, who passed away in 1997. Nell was also preceded in death by a brother, George Ben Shepherd, a sister, Edith Belle Shepherd, and a half-brother, Ward Plesby Shepherd.

Nell was valedictorian of her graduating class at Flat Creek High School and a graduate of Blanton’s Business College. She and Dad were married on April 4, 1954 and, after a brief period of time as an executive administrative assistant at American Enka Corporation, she left her position to begin a family. While raising her family with Dad on a country farm, she began her career, initially part -time and then full time, in a variety of positions in medical practices including, Dr. George Briggs, Dr. Walter Brosnan, Weaverville Family Medicine and, finally, Carolina Hand and Sports Medicine where she retired in 2013 at the age of 81. Mama Nell was a treasured employee, helping, serving and encouraging doctors, patients, and co-workers with her friendly smile and personality.

Mom was, above all, a devoted, loving and caring daughter, sister, wife and mother. In the midst of raising her family, Mom became the primary caretaker for her parents, then Dad who died of Parkinson’s disease, and her sister. No matter how difficult the job of caretaking, Mom always dealt gracefully with “the cards that were dealt” to her, staying positive and upbeat and bringing a smile to those in her care. In the midst of caring for others, Mom never forgot her role as Mother for her children and eventually, grandchildren. She was the ultimate Mother, fitting the role of a virtuous woman from Proverbs 31 to a “T”. She was up early and stayed up late to attend to any need of her children. She always greeted us with a smile and an offer for something to eat. If you left Mom’s house hungry, it was your fault. If you were working on the farm, she would come to find you with water and snacks in hand. She cared for us more than she cared for herself and any inconvenience that serving us might bring to her. Mom achieved the accolade of the world’s greatest mother, not out of selfish pursuit, but out of a genuine heart of love, devotion and commitment to her children. She was her children’s cheerleader and biggest fan, an encourager through and through.

Mom was also a quiet but steadfast servant of the Lord. A member of Turkey Creek Baptist Church since 1952, Mom served the Lord in a variety of capacities. She mostly used her talents serving for years as the church pianist and a cook, providing wonderful home cooked meals to church fellowships with her specialty being fried chicken and banana pudding. Mom was the consummate servant of the Lord with no need for recognition. She served quietly and she encouraged others to serve through her support of them in the areas that God had called them. Mom was a supportive Pastor’s wife as Dad pastored several churches, helping in any way that she could and encouraging him with her support, love and devotion.

Mom is survived by her children, Tommy Lee Davis and wife, Alta, Terry Lane Davis and wife, Tammy, Tamara Elizabeth Davis and her husband, Kenny Kratzer, and Duane Ashley Davis and wife, Lynn. Mom loved and adored her grandchildren, Brandon Ashley Davis and Isaac Terry Davis, Rodney Clark and wife, Angie, Linda Kuhar and husband, Todd and their daughter, Megan. Mom is also survived by her half-sister, June Shepherd Fox, aunts, Ada Shepherd Buckner, Jean Shepherd Edwards, an uncle, Charles Shepherd, beloved cousins, Opha Hylemon and Edna Lewis and several other cousins, nieces, nephews.

Funeral services will be held 2:00 p.m. Sunday, February 19, 2017 at Turkey Creek Baptist Church, Bear Creek Road, Leicester with Rev. Ricky Townsend and Rev. Steve Honeycutt officiating. Interment will follow in Turkey Creek Baptist Church Cemetery. Pallbearers will be grandsons and grand-nephews.

The family will receive friends 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. Saturday at West Funeral Home, 17 Merrimon Ave., Weaverville.

Flowers are welcome or memorials may be made to the Turkey Creek Baptist Church Cemetery Fund, PO Box 570, Leicester, NC 28748.

The family would like to thank the staffs of Cancer Care of WNC for their loving care and support of Mom during her 3 ½ year fight against cancer. We also want to thank the staffs of Mission Hospital-Saint Joseph’s Campus, The Lodge at Mills River, and the Solace Center for their loving care of Mom during her final journey home and to the many friends, family and church family who sent cards, flowers and their prayers expressing their love for Mom during her illness.

For those who desire, condolences may be offered to the family under Nell’s obituary at