Posted Wednesday, January 3, 2018 by RODNEY HOfirstname.lastname@example.org on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog
Soon after Amanda Davis returned as a news anchor after three-plus years off air, CBS46 plastered billboards around town proclaiming "Amanda is back!"
When Cascade United Methodist Church pastor Kevin Murriel spied one of the billboards partially hidden behind leaves, he took a picture of it and texted her.
"Pastor," she wrote him, "I'm so humbled to be back but do you think you could pull over and trim some of the tree limbs in front of my picture? LOL. Just kidding!"
The packed congregation at Cascade laughed during a moment of levity during the funeral service for the veteran news anchor, who passed away last week following a severe stroke at age 62.
New Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Congressmen John Lewis and Hank Johnson and former Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell attended the service. Ambassador and former Atlanta mayor Andrew Young and his wife Carolyn spoke on the dais. Others who were in the audience included playwright and director Kenny Leon, who was friends with Davis in college at Clark Atlanta in the mid-1970s, and former NBA star Dikembe Mutombo.
And a raft of local TV broadcast personalities were there as well, including former Channel 2 Action News anchor Monica Pearson, retired 11Alive anchor Brenda Wood, CBS46 anchor Sharon Reed, former Fox 5 anchor Lisa Rayam, former CBS46 anchor Bobby Kaple, 11Alive's Doug Richards, CBS46's Karyn Greer and Fox 5's Portia Bruner.
Melora Rivera, Davis' only child and a Hollywood screenwriter, struggled through her remembrance of her mom, often overcome by grief. "She and I have been best friends since the moment I was born," she said. "We worked through everything, through every celebration, through every difficult moment. I was always right there with her. I was always her plus one."
She said she appreciated how her mother treated her like "a fully formed person," admiring how she lived "so unapologetically, so fiercely, so independently, so righteously. Exceptional doesn't even begin to describe how amazing she was. I will never stop missing her, her laughter, her joy, her smile. I hope none of you will either."
Murriel described Davis as a woman who didn't fully appreciate her own worth. "I tried to be her best supporter," he said. "Because I loved her. I saw the beauty which she never saw. I saw the love she carried for Melora in her heart... She was the joy of her life." He then thanked CBS46 for giving Davis another shot at anchoring and the audience stood up and gave an extended standing ovation.
Keith Wood, who said he has known her for 25 years, was aware of her personal and work issues over the years but said she always held up a strong outer front. "She had a special kind of humanity about her," he said. "She never stood on a pedestal or acted like a big shot." Even after her DUI troubles went public and social media criticized her, he said she'd smile and gamely joke, 'What's up with these guys?' "