Mallie Rita Reynolds Slaughter-Davis, 77, of Midway, passed away on Tuesday, July 18, 2017, in Spring. A celebration of her life was held Saturday, July 22 at the First Baptist Church in Madisonville. Joshua Crutchfield and Jeff Taylor officiated. Burial followed at Allphin Cemetery in Madisonville. The visitation was held Friday, July 21, at First Baptist Church.
Rita was born on Jan. 31, 1940, in Madison County to Murphy Milton and Mallie Annie Kelton Reynolds. Her twin brother, Reed, arrived 15 minutes later. She graduated from Madisonville High School, was the owner/operator of Rita’s Daycare, and later became the mayor of the City of Midway. She was literally a legend in her hometown and surrounding communities. You would be hard pressed to find someone who wasn’t greatly influenced by “Miss Rita.”
At her older sister’s, Sunshine Greer’s funeral, her sister was described as “a big, pink fluffy cloud.” Well, Rita was like a red, white and blue American flag — with a lot of bling added. She put all her dynamic personality into the things she loved, and she loved deeply.
First of all, she loved the Lord and her church. She loved scripture, songs, Bible study and good sermons. She always supported her pastor and took part in everything she could, from “Wiggle Worship” to the Pathway of Light. We will always remember her, “Praise the Lord” and “Blessed and Highly Favored” sayings.
Next, she loved her family. She loved Billy, her children, grandchildren, in-laws, great-grandchildren and all her brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews. All of them knew “Aunt Rita” and she loved to get everyone together in their backyard, as many as could come. There was always something great to eat and a sincere welcome for everyone.
Almost equal with family was her love of America. Rita was deeply, strongly patriotic. She grieved over our country’s drift from its Constitutional roots and she was a proud member of the Tea Party and Right to Life.
When you see signs in Madisonville that say “Pray for Our Nation,” always think of Rita, because she and Billy had them created and put them all around.
Rita loved children — anyone who had a day care 30 years would have to love children. And she wanted every child to know about Jesus. She taught them the Christmas story from Luke’s gospel every year and she never let Easter go without a BIG Easter celebration and a lesson on the real meaning of Easter — the resurrection of Jesus.
Rita loved her community. She loved being mayor of Midway and she was always thinking of ways to improve what she called “our little town.” At her very last family backyard party, Rita could hardly speak. But she looked around the yard at the children playing, and all the family gathered together and she whispered “we are so blessed.” “Yes, we are Rita. And you were a big part of our blessing to so many people.”
There will never be another Rita Slaughter-Davis. God broke the mold when he made her. She had a unique and very deep relationship with all of her children. The five of them together fought their way out of poverty and abandonment. Rita was an amazing mother to them and they were incredibly loyal children to her. They set the standard for what resilience and love of family should be like between a mother and child.
One last thing — Rita also had a second chance at love. When she found Billy Davis, her life was completed. No one on this earth provided such a stable and loving force as Billy did for her. Their relationship was something of a fairytale from the beginning until Rita drew her last breath — a true testament of honor and grace.
Rita’s last request was for people to be kind and respectful one another, especially her Billy. She wanted Jesus to be glorified and to “let your lights shine” for the Lord. She said there is only one thing that mattered in life and that was Christ. She continued by saying, “be careful what your eyes are looking at and be careful what your ears are listening to. Don’t let any corruption be around you. Shut your ears to it. Walk away from it. Sadly, in this age and in this world when we don’t seek the Lord, we have no strength against the enemy, Satan. You have to lean upon the Lord. You have to seek him. Turn your eyes upon Jesus. That is the way through this life. The only way.”
Rita was preceded in death by her parents; her son-in-law, George Richey; the father of her children, Dr. Jerry Slaughter; her sisters, Sunnie Greer, Beth Spillar and Grace Wall; and her brother, Walton Reynolds.
Rita is survived by her husband, Billy Van Davis; her siblings, Marie Lohner, Jack Reynolds, Reed Reynolds, Betty Ann Neal, Vada Robertson, Rebecca Harrell, George Reynolds, G.G. Reynolds and Buddy Reynolds; her sons, Leslie Slaughter and his wife Mary, Micah Slaughter and his wife Marla, Jody Slaughter and his wife Susan; her daughter, Sheila Slaughter-Richey; her stepsons, Mark Davis and his wife Debbie and Mitch Davis; her grandchildren, Landon Slaughter, Elizabeth Sauvageau, Kaylen Irvine, Lindsey McCaffety, Lisa Slaughter, Logan Slaughter, Samuel Slaughter, Tatum Richey and Simon Slaughter; and her great-grandchildren, Noah Sauvageau, Layton McCaffety, Gavin Slaughter, Hannah Grace Sauvageau, Rilee Grace Slaughter, Evvie Marie McCaffety, Madeleine Sauvageau, Karis Irvine and “baby” Sauvageau.