From Panama to Jamaica, New York, New Jersey and Palm Coast, Gertrude Davey is one of a kind.
Gertrude Davey has always been the exception. On Saturday, Sept. 26 she will celebrate her 100th birthday and a lifetime of incredible experiences.
Born in Panama during WWI, one year after the Panama Canal was open, Davey’s family moved to Jamaica when she was three years old, and her story really begins.
It doesn’t take long to realize that this petite and soft-spoken woman has, to paraphrase Frank Sinatra (born in Dec. 1915), has done it “her way.”
Her first career was a kindergarten teacher in Jamaica. Davey left her classroom for the Woman’s Royal Army Corps during World War II.
“I was in charge of the soldier’s payroll. I made sure they got their money every fortnight, that’s two weeks,” she explained.
In the 1950s Davey’s duties included making preparations for Queen Elizabeth II’s visit to the islands in 1953 and Princess Margaret’s visit in 1955. A shadow box hung on the wall of Davey’s Palm Coast home displays medals and a photo of Princess Margaret and Premier of Jamaica Norman Manley.
“When the queen came to the islands I was in charge of the tours and making sure everything was OK. That was my job,” she said.
Davey immigrated to the United States in April 1956 during a record-breaking snowstorm in New York.
“That was the first time I had ever seen snow. I’ll never forget that,” Davey said.
Davey last career was on Wall Street at Chase Manhattan Bank.
“They sent me to banks all over the world,” she said. “I got to travel to different banks in Europe and they paid.”
She and her daughter Fay Davey retired to Palm Coast in 1985 where she remained active as a Master Gardener and other volunteer activities.
After a life of fascinating careers and travel Davey had one simple bit of advice to share:
“Always be on time. That’s my motto.”