DAVIS, Junetta (Watson)
Junetta Watson Davis, 82, emeritus professor of journalism, of Norman, Oklahoma, died Friday, March 7, 2008, in Norman, Oklahoma. Memorial Services will be held at 11:30 a.m., Saturday, April 5, 2008, at Havenbrook Funeral Home Chapel.
Services are under the direction of Havenbrook Funeral Home of Norman, Oklahoma. Mrs. Davis was born in Marlow, Oklahoma, June 7, 1925, to George Marshall Watson and Pearl Brooks Watson. She was their eighth child, with five sisters and two brothers as older siblings. She attended the first eight grades in Marlow Public Schools. The family moved to Texas in 1939, and she graduated from Amon Carter-Riverside High School in Fort Worth in 1943.
Mrs. Davis had decided at 14 she wanted to be a journalist, but college was deferred until after World War II. While working as a secretary, she attended night classes at Texas Christian University. In 1950, she transferred to the University of North Texas, from which she received a bachelor's degree in journalism in 1952.
She began her journalistic career on the Denton (Texas) Record-Chronicle in 1951, while still a student. During her tenure there, she helped persuade Dwight Eisenhower to bring his campaign for the Republican nomination to Denton, where she conducted an exclusive interview. After his election as president, she got credentials to cover one of his press conferences. She left the Record-Chronicle at the end of 1952 for the Associated Press to cover the 1953 Kansas Legislature.
From there, she went to the Wichita Falls (Texas) Record News, where she continued to cover politics. One highlight was traveling during 1954 throughout Northwest Texas with then Sen. Lyndon Johnson, who later became president. In the fall of 1954, Mrs. Davis became editor of the employee magazine at Texas Instruments.
She left TI to travel in Europe. She went to the Houston Post in late 1957 where she was a general assignments reporter, covering courts, politics and medicine. It was at the Post that she met her husband, John Alex Davis. They were married in 1958. The marriage lasted 40 years, until his death in 1999.The couple left the Post in 1960 to travel to the Canary Islands and the continent, writing newspaper stories for Texas newspapers. On their return home in 1961, they studied professional writing at the University of Oklahoma. While completing her master's degree at OU, she began her teaching career at Oklahoma College of Liberal Arts, now Oklahoma College of Sciences and Arts. After completing her OU degree, she returned to North Texas to do public relations and teach journalism. She was there six years when OU hired her back to teach. She retired from OU in 1986, after 14 years.
At OU, she became an advocate for women, sparring with presidents and provosts to improve the status of women at the university. When she retired, the OU Regents gave her a plaque, which called her an ""articulate champion for the rights of women."" The award noted her activity in the OU Women's Caucus and that she was twice selected as outstanding faculty adviser to the student chapter of Women in Communications, Inc.It continued: ""Her seminar course, ""Women and Media"", has received national recognition from the Women's Institute Freedom of the Press."" It noted also that she had been honored with an award of journalistic excellence by the Oklahoma Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, Sigma Delta Chi, and was cited for excellence as a teacher of writing and editing by the American Society of Newspaper Editors and the Modern Media Institute (now The Poynter Institute.)
After retiring from OU, Mrs. Davis edited a medical newsletter for nine years, ""Early Detection"" for the Breast Cancer Screening Center in Oklahoma City. In 1989, Early Detection won a Clarion national award of excellence of Women in Communications, Inc. Mrs. Davis is survived by one sister, two nieces and two nephews, two great nieces and two great nephews, a great-great niece and a great-great nephew, and a family of friends and former students.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Oklahoma Chapter of the American Cancer Society, 6525 N. Meridian, Oklahoma City, OK 73116, or to The University of Texas, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, P. O. Box 4464, Houston, TX 77210.Submitted by family.