You don’t need introductions, though, do you? Everyone knows Jeannie. From her running of political campaigns alone, she’s a local Hall-of-Famer. If something is going on within the city, you can bet Jeannie is involved. “Like everyone else, I love love-love going places and everyone knowing me. There are so many people I know, and I have so much fun,” Davis commented. Her unique connection to others starts with Jeannie’s rare ability to look beyond surfaces when dealing with others — a quality she and Brennan shared. “Virginia could always make you see the good in something or someone. With her, you were doing dental floss through your brain.”
Born in Grosse Pointe Park, Jeannie was raised by her grandmother as one of seven children. “You don’t need a man to get along; you need a man to get the lid off pickles and fix flat tires,” her grandmother told her. After attending convent school in Monroe, Jeannie moved to Ferndale in the mid-‘60s where she raised three children — all graduates of Ferndale High School who are still nearby.
“I’d like to think [my grandmother would] be proud,” Jeannie said.
Jeannie worked as a home appraiser for years, running her own business with, at one point, a 60-hour work-week and over a dozen employees. Many of her appraisals were in Detroit, and it didn’t take long for her to make her mark in that community. One instance that stands out was the case of one house that had an alligator caged in the basement, unbeknownst to Jeannie, who became famous for adding “remove alligator from basement” to her list of miscellaneous recommendations. “I was known all over in the appraisal world after that,” she said.
Other highlights of Jeannie’s past? She was once an astrologer who practiced the art at parties and even on
the radio. Her epiphany when charting our stars and planets? “Everything does not revolve around the earth.” Eventually she was invited on the evening news and “was debunked.” Being Jeannie, she remembers even being debunked as fun, “especially hair and makeup.”
Jeannie’s part of the newly-revived Arts Commission (and wonders what you’d like to see such a commission do in Ferndale; an orchestra, maybe?).
“I do decorative painting, and I teach that [at the Kulick Center]. I knit. I love gardening. I used to do vegetables but it’s easier to go to Western. My yard is huge and ideal for fundraisers [like Ferndale Democrats]. I’ve tried to figure how many thousands we’ve raised in my backyard.” How did she end up running so many local political campaigns? “I have no idea,” she quipped. Despite that, she managed or worked on campaigns for Craig Covey, Greg Pawlica, Dan Martin, Rob Porter, Dave Coulter, as well as various human rights causes.
“Jeannie is an amazing, giving woman who cares deeply about her community, all the while sharing a boisterous and bawdy sense of humor,” former Mayor Craig Covey said. “We are lucky to have her. She has been a huge ally and confidant.”
Councilman Greg Pawlica shared a similar sentiment: “Jeannie is an incredibly dynamic lady who I admire greatly. She has more energy and drive than some people half her age. I am honored to be able to call her a dear friend.”
Jeannie may be most active with the Seniors group. She’s been president now for seven years. “They needed to be more visible. I did everything I could to make them more visible. Pub Crawl, Blues Fest, Music in the Park; now we have representatives of some group who’s doing an event contact us and ask, ‘can we depend on your cooperation?’ The volunteers do a couple of hours and get to enjoy the event,” Davis said.
But no matter what group or organization she’s working for, Jeannie brings with her a dedication and love that is unmatched in Ferndale and beyond. “I love the seniors, I love the Ferndale Foundation. I’m on the board of that as well.”
A good sense of humor and a passion for her community; Jeannie Davis represents the best of what Ferndale has to offer.
Dan Martin said this: “Jeannie Davis is a bit of an icon in Ferndale. She really embodies how people of all ages and stages of life can contribute and weave the fabric of our culture here. Over time she has been involved in so many things, influenced and supported so many people. As her understanding of the community has evolved she has personally evolved too and just keeps getting better and better. She has made a tremendous impact to the community, and luckily for her, no one is pressing charges.”
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