The story goes that the former Jenny Davis, a chief petty officer in the Navy WAVES in the mid-’40s, needed to gain 2 pounds before she could earn the next rank. But the 5-foot 7-inch, 98-pound Davis just couldn’t make those last 2 pounds stick.
“The minimum weight was 100 pounds. Her metabolism was just too quick,” Jenifer Shockley said of her mother.
But those elusive pounds didn’t keep Davis from serving her country, finding love or raising a family, said Shockley, who lives in Atlanta. Family and friends say she was one of the most caring and helpful people around.
Virginia Davis Shockley, known as Jenny, of Atlanta, died Saturday from complications of Alzheimer’s. She was 90.
A funeral is planned for 11 a.m. Wednesday at Tuckston United Methodist Church, Athens. Burial, at Oconee Hill Cemetery, Athens, will follow the service. H.M. Patterson & Son-Oglethorpe Hill is in charge of arrangements.
Born in Pocataligo, approximately 20 miles northeast of Athens, Jenny Shockley grew up in Winterville, just outside of Athens. She graduated from high school when she was 15 and went to the University of Georgia, where she graduated in 1943 with a bachelor’s degree in business.
The next year, she joined the Navy WAVES, the acronym for Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service, her daughter said. After her honorable discharge, Shockley planned to enroll at the University of California, Berkeley, to earn a master’s degree in social work.
“But she met my father, and that was the end of that,” her daughter said with a laugh. “They dated for three weeks before they got married.”
Walter Ray Shockley and the former Jenny Davis were married for 58 years, at the time of his death in 2004.
After she married, Jenny Shockley devoted her life to the care of her family, her children said. That included attending their events, supporting them in whatever they did.
“Family and the betterment of her kids was a priority,” said her son David Shockley, of Scottsdale, Ariz. Her cousin, Betty Francis, said Jenny Shockley was a wonderful caregiver. Francis said she experienced significant complications after her last child was born, but Shockley was there through it all.
“She was the first person I saw when I woke up,” Francis said. “That should tell you the kind of person she was. When she walked the road with you, she walked the whole way.”
In addition to her son and daughter, Shockley is survived by a second daughter, Lisa Moery of Atlanta; two granddaughters and two great-granddaughters.