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LEGACY: The Rev. Dr. Herbert Eugene Davenport Jr.

davenport legacyDena taught him how to text and email and even how to do the "Wobble."

Visa took the position that he always was right – part of the territory when you are "a daddy's girl."

Both – Visa Davenport Harper and Dena Davenport McNeal (Terrian) – were referring to their father, the late Rev. Dr. Herbert Eugene Davenport Jr., whose life was celebrated at Greater Mt. Moriah Baptist Church, 1098 S. Wellington St., last Saturday (Sept. 15).

Rev. Davenport, who served as pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church for 20-plus years, died Sept. 9. He was 75.

Rev DavenportMany knew the Rev. Davenport as a mentor for boys and girls at Hamilton Middle School and South Side High School. On a weekly basis, he would visit Vance Middle School and Booker T. Washington High School (BTW), where he organized the "Young Men of Distinction."

A BTW graduate (1956), Mr. Davenport graduated from Brewster Theological Seminary and School of Religion (1982), continuing his religious studies at Mid-South Bible College and the Tennessee School of Religion, where earlier this year (May 18) he received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters Degree.

From 1993 to 1990, Rev. Davenport was the pastor of Friendship Baptist Church in Shell Lake, Ark., accepting the call to pastor Shiloh in 1990. A Bible scholar, those who heard him preach were used to hearing him utter two familiar phrases: "Ain't God alright" and "I'm getting ready to close now, but I'd like to tell this story."

Civic minded and a social advocate, Rev. Davenport was a member of the Memphis District Association and the Memphis Baptist Ministerial Association and was former Moderator of the Aid Benevolent Christian Association. His numerous organizational affiliations included the African American Pastors' Consortium on HIV and AIDS, the Gaslight Square-Bunker Hill Neighborhood Association, Lauderdale Sub Association, the Hamilton Community Initiative and the Southwest Cemetery Association.

Mr. Davenport received many awards, honors and accolades for his wide-ranging civic engagement.

The husband of Virginia Hill-Davenport, he also leaves three grandchildren, Terrian, Daven and Jaelyn; seven sisters, Ann Matthews, Magnolia Matthews, Arnice Matthews, Roneta Davenport, Ann Marie Williams, Karen Harris, and Velvetta Stokes; and a brother, Roy Davenport. He was preceded in death by a sister, Hattie Davenport Martin.

The Rev. Keith Norman of First Baptist Church-Broad Ave. officiated at the memorial service held Sept. 14, with the Rev. J.L. Payne of Greater Mt. Moriah Baptist Church officiating at the funeral service. Burial was in Elmwood Cemetery. R.S. Lewis & Sons Funeral Home had charge.

In lieu of flowers, the family asked that donations be sent to Shiloh Baptist Church Youth and Young Adult Ministry (Y.A.M.), 1670 Gaither Street, Memphis, 38106.


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