Eleanor Davis
Photo of Eleanor Davis via O'Neill Hayes Funeral Home

This obituary originally appeared on O’Neill Hayes Funeral Home.

Eleanor Dorothy Davis died Feb. 1, 2021 at the age of 102.

A native Newporter, the former Eleanor Meierovitz was a graduate of the Rogers High School’s Class of 1936 and a lifelong congregant of Touro Synagogue.

Until 2019, she lived on Hall Avenue, Newport in the Coggeshall Elementary school district where she was raised. Her home was mere steps from a neighborhood variety store on Van Zandt Avenue that was established in the early years of the 20th Century by her parents, Samuel and Cecelia Meierovitz.  

Eleanor and her seven siblings emerged from a compact, two-story home at Van Zandt Avenue to take on an assortment of roles in Newport commerce and health care.

She met and married the late Seymour Emanuel Davis during the outbreak of World War II, when he was a machinist at the Goat Island torpedo station. The couple was apart during Seymour’s overseas service in the United States Navy. It was the only time they were distant from one another over almost seven decades.

In 2019, Eleanor relocated to Marlboro, MA

Loved and adored by her large family and an international community of devoted friends, Eleanor is survived by sons Robert Davis (Susan) of Marlboro, MA., and Michael Davis (Debra) of Davidson, NC. Eleanor is also survived by four granddaughters, two great-grandsons, and a throng of nieces and nephews. Her granddaughters include Meagan Davis (partner Tim Booth) of Urbana, MD; Tyler Kukla (Andrew) of Lawrenceville, NJ; Jillian Helding (Lee) of Chicago; and Lauren Riker (A.J.) of Ashland, MA. Great-grandsons include Rylan and Paxton Kukla.  

Her 50-plus years of dedication to the Boston Celtics were rewarded anew in 2008 when New England’s NBA franchise raised a 17th championship banner to accompany others that hang in the rafters at TD Garden.  

She also saw the Boston Red Sox win World Series titles in 2004, 2007, and 2013. During that span, she gifted Sox first baseman David “Big Papi” Ortiz with a set of her prized signature hand-crafted padded coat hangers, wrapped in fabric bearing the team’s logo. He gifted Eleanor with one of the biggest bear hugs she ever received. A treasured family photo of Eleanor and Big Papi documents their shared moment.

Eleanor assumed a remarkable array of jobs during her lifetime, including stints working for her brother, Wolfe, at his news and notions store on Franklin Street. She also was the daytime manager of a Dunkin’ Donuts franchise on Washington Square, diagonally across from the historic Court House. That coffee shop was a civic hub unlike any other, with judges and prosecutors rubbing shoulders with fishermen and financiers. Eleanor kept the coffee flowing and the spirits high, leaving indelible memories for the patrons who stopped in for a cruller and a to-go cup of joe.

Eleanor collected friends the way some collect stamps, ever eager to embrace newcomers and visitors to Newport. As a result of her work as a regional representative for a discount catalogue, she gained a host of loyal customers who, at the time, were students or guest lecturers at the Newport Naval War College. Those customers became her friends for life. They reside now in Australia, Europe, Asia, and South America, as well as island nations around the globe.

On Thursday, February 4, 2021, Eleanor will be buried alongside her husband at Beth Olam Cemetery, 181 Wyatt Road, Middletown, RI. COVID-19 protocols will be observed during the private ceremony.

Arrangements for virtual expressions of condolence will be announced later in the week.   

The family intends to endow a scholarship in her name at Rogers High School.

Arrangements are by the Chevra Kadisha Association of Newport County.