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Memorial Created By
Michael Davies

Debbie Davies

August 23, 1941 - September 12, 2021

Please share your memories of Debbie Davies here - whether sweet or strong, ridiculous or loving. She was all those things and more! Click on the heart to let us know you were here and to receive email updates. Thank you for contributing to this lasting memorial.

Debbie Davies, beloved teacher for over four decades, died Sunday, September 12, 2021, after a long battle with cancer. She was 80 years old.   Debbie was born Deborah Ann Gwatkin in Manchester, CT in 1941, to parents Wesley and Helen (Meyercord) Gwatkin. She graduated from Goucher College in 1963 and later met her husband Keith while both were in the Master’s in Education program at Wesleyan University in Connecticut. Debbie and...  see more
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Posts & Photos

  • Rahul Menon
    Mrs. Davies was my favorite of a list of many excellent teachers. She is a big reason that I became a high school math teacher myself. She still inspires me to infuse joy and wonder into my students as she very much did for me (and so many others) when...  more
  • Michael Davies
    We wanted to make sure you all knew there will be a memorial service for Debbie on Sunday, November 14, 2021 at 2:00 pm in the auditorium at the University School of Nashville.

    Because of COVID-19, in-person seating will be limited. If you would like...  more
  • Michael Davies
  • Nancy Lambright
    Debbie remains one of my very fondest memories of our years at Goucher College. Her kindness to all and her rare sense of humor made her a favorite of most everyone. The characteristics with which she lead Bacon House were the same she displayed...  more
  • Lourdes Cuellar
    Dear Michael and Trefor,
    I echo everybody’s words as to how unique, kind, caring, direct and humorous your mom was. We used to have lunch in the USN faculty work room with other teachers, and one day your mom told me not to microwave my food in a...  more
    • Lourdes Cuellar
      Trefor Davies Thank you, Lourdes, for sharing!
      • September 30, 2021
  • Jennifer Bruer
    D-Squared was one of the best teachers I ever had. As a teacher myself, I now appreciate even more her wit and humor, her patience and tolerance (for shenanigans), and her knowledge and wisdom. She is missed.
  • connie culpepper
    Reading these pages after so many people have already left their memories of Debbie has proven to be a blessing, a vivid reminder of why we all loved her. She was a wonderful friend to many and the best teacher I have ever known because (as all these...  more
  • Gay Greer
  • Anita Schmid
    Dear Michael and Trevor, I met your mom when she and Janet Schneider interviewed some of us from Harpeth Hall about the Winterim program. Years later, she was one of the three teachers who interviewed me when I applied at USN. Like many of her students,...  more
  • Scott Merrick
    I first met my friend Debbie at her front door on Halloween night of 1995. We had been in our Cantrell home for only a few months, and Miranda was excited to be meeting new neighbors who brought candy to the door.

    That, I think, was the year she had...  more
    • Scott Merrick
      Trefor Davies Thanks Scott! It’s great to read this memory. I will say though, that I suspect your kids were not quite so entranced by the homemade bags of popcorn my mom insisted on giving away on Halloween - “they’ve had enough candy!”
      • September 20, 2021
  • Michael Davies
    On September 15th, The Tennessean ran the following article about my mom:

    'A crackerjack math teacher': Debbie Davies, longtime University School of Nashville teacher, dies

    Debbie Davies, a University School of Nashville math teacher for over three...  more
  • Jan Maier
    I met Debbie when she became a Vanderbilt Faculty Wife...later we became long-time USN colleagues and friends. My sons were not math-inclined but Debbie willed them through her classes. She spent extra hours before and after school helping them. She...  more
    • Jan Maier
      Trefor Davies Thanks Jan. It’s great how far her “teaching tree” extends. She is definitely why I am now a teacher as well.
      • September 20, 2021
  • Trisha Deegan
    Debbie was such a warm, welcoming, wise, friend to me when I was at USN - I will always treasure the time she took, and the encouragement she gave, she will be missed.
  • Maki Uno
    I was a student of Debbie's and very sad to hear the news. Her classes are the part of my good memories of my stay in the US about 30 years ago.
  • Midori Lockett
  • David Shayne
    Back in the '80s she had a poster in her classroom that featured a quote from Einstein: "Do not worry about your difficulties in Mathematics. I can assure you mine are still greater."

    Probably because Einstein didn't have a teacher like Debbie...  more
  • Jane Buchanan
    Trefor and Michael, I am so sorry for your loss. Ms. Davies was such a superb teacher and I remember her so well and with great admiration. I still have memories of the 7 or 8 of us sitting her classroom in the early 90s, studying pre-calc and then calc,...  more
  • Lee Gwatkin
    My sister Debbie was the oldest, two years my senior. I visited Keith and her in Storrs, CT soon after they were married. They were both working on Masters degrees, living frugally in a converted goat shed that was half underground. When Keith came home,...  more
    • Adam Fagen reacted on this.
    • Lee Gwatkin
      Trefor Davies That’s a great story, Lee! I hadn’t heard that one before!
      • September 17, 2021
  • Carol Gwatkin
    Debbie on her first dinghy ride with her brother Lee. Dinghy rides are fun - the challenge is getting in and out.

    Not only did Debbie encourage others to accomplish what was hard for them, she lived it, and with a great attitude. It was a bit of a...  more
  • Gayle Ray
    I am saddened to hear about Debbie’s illness and death. Michael and Trefor, you had two wonderful parents and they both left this world too soon. We spent many fun times at your house in the 80’s, mostly with friends from Second Presbyterian. We...  more
  • Mary Prue Alley
    Debbie was an amazing head of the math department at USN when I taught 7th grade math there in the early 1990s. She inspired, supported and encouraged me to be the best teacher I could be. She arranged for me to go to the University of Chicago with...  more
  • Mary Prue Alley
  • Ann Wheeler
    Michael and Trefor, as I've walked around the halls of USN this week, memories of Debbie in her prime have been very present for me: it's been hard to believe that she's not teaching just up the stairs; I can easily imagine hearing her laughter in the...  more
  • Vince Durnan
    And Trefor and Michael, may the way you were there for your mom these past months through the move provide consolation in this time of sadness. You did a difficult thing as beautifully and thoughtfully as could have been done.
  • Vince Durnan
    Debbie never hesitated to stop by for a conversation when the opportunity presented. Her deep subject knowledge was rivaled by the way she cared for every student and for the future of the school, for the future of schooling. Her commitment to our...  more
  • Harvey Sperling
    Harvey & Cathie Sperling
    Debbie was the exemplary educator, a model for colleagues and students. She was and will remain a vital link in the PDS/USN chain of life. Although she and Keith had two fine sons, she touched the minds and spirits of...  more
  • Will Johnston
    If teachers can be measured by how vividly and fondly they are remembered by every student who passed through their classroom, then Ms. Davies is among the very best. She had an uncanny ability to know the true potential in each of her students and not...  more
  • Alan Fagen
  • Scott Cotton
  • Michael Davies
  • Michael Davies
    • Michael Davies
      Michael Davies When we couldn't see them during COVID, we had fun sending an accordionist over to serenade Mom and her friend Sandy on Mother's Day
    • Michael Davies
      由布子 竹内 So sad to hear the news. For me, Ms.Davies is one of the most memorable teachers at USN and definitely one of the greatest mentors in my life. I loved her smile, laugh, and caring personality (and her neat,distinctive handwriting, too). Even though...  more
  • Monica Weiss-Sharp
  • Monica Weiss-Sharp
    Ms. Davies was a huge part of my high school experience. She was one of our Judicial Board advisors for all four years I served, and she was my Precalculus and BC Calculus teacher as well. I give her much of the credit for my love of math. Even more than...  more
  • Adam Fagen
    I have so many memories of D^2 as a teacher, math team facilitator, friend, mentor and more. I've been trying to think of a story to share, and one came to mind about the kind of "rebel" she was.

    In 1988, several of us attended a Mu Alpha Theta...  more
  • Patti Wexler
  • Ryutaro  Takeuchi
    Michael and Trefor, our most sincere condolences to you and your families. Ms. Davis taught me mathematics at USN from 1983 to 1985 and helped me and the rest of the team mates flourish in the Math Count. I had to go back to Japan back then but I was...  more
    • Michael Davies reacted on this.
    • Ryutaro  Takeuchi
      Adam Fagen So good to see your name, Rui. Certainly remember MathCounts way back when.
      • September 14, 2021
    • Ryutaro  Takeuchi
      Ryutaro Takeuchi Hi, Adam. So great to hear from you. It’s been 36 years. Ms. Davies pulled us together. I will get in touch with you via LinkedIn shortly. Rui
  • Dick Nord
    Trefor and Michael - very sorry to hear about your loss. But I know there's pride and a feeling of great fortune to have a mother like her. I remember her as a great teacher, with no tolerance for BS yet a great deal of patience. She wanted us to...  more
  • Mark Levine
    Did Ms. Davies ever have a bad day? I'm sure she did. But if she did, I never saw it. She was always smiling, always in a good mood. Even when I didn't do as well as she thought I could do, she would let me know in only the most positive and reaffirming...  more
  • Janet Schneider
    We’ve lost a grand teacher and colleague, but the lessons we learned from Debbie live on. When I was a new teacher, I remember hashing through endless discussions with Debbie as we figured out best practices to align with USN’s philosophy. In those...  more
    • Adam Fagen and Susan Gillmor reacted on this.
    • Janet Schneider
      Michael Davies Thank you for being such a good friend to her for so many years. My mom always loved breaking out the Bowling Club ornament for the Holidays!
      • September 14, 2021
  • Michael Rosen
    Debbie Davies is what you would want as a teacher, mentor and friend. She always had a positive spirit and a true desire to invest in you, the student, to be and do better. Math was her talent, but her true strength was recognizing not just those who...  more
  • Michael Rosen
  • Eleanor Teal
  • Daniel Bryant
    Mrs. Davies was one of the most memorable and most impactful teachers I have had throughout my academic career. What an incredible and blessed life to be able to positively influence and inspire so many.
  • Patty Talbot
    My friendship with Debbie began in 1968 when my late husband David and I moved into Clubhouse Apartments, the University of Connecticut's graduate student housing, with our son Dan, then one year old. Debbie came upstairs to invite us down to welcome us....  more
  • Stephanie Townsend
    As a former teacher I hope that I had the positive influence on my students as Mrs. Davies had on so many of her students. Math was not my best subject but I she took the time to help me outside of class and always made learning fun. My deepest...  more
  • John & Allis Dale Gillmor
  • Mark Arildsen
  • David Schach
    "In the long run, spoon-feeding teaches us nothing more than the shape of the spoon."
    Probably the best advice I have ever received.
    Only DD would put a huge cardboard spoon on her wall and point to it when we didn't want to figure out how to...  more
    • David Schach
      Trefor Davies That spoon-feeding quote is perfection, a fantastic distillation of her spirit. Thanks. (Cutting out a cardboard spoon now for my classroom.)
  • Elizabeth Stelling  Bills
    Ah, this one hurts. Debbie was first my teacher, later, my colleague, and she was always, always, a mentor. I can still hear the sound of her Dr. Scholl’s sandals clacking down the hall. She was one of the special ones.
  • JJ Rosen