Saranel Burford Detamore Davis, age 98, passed away peacefully on Sunday, March 12, 2017. Saranel was born in Birmingham, AL to the late James Franklin Burford, Sr. and Marguerite Varner Burford. She grew up in the Ensley Highalnds area and was blessed with a loving, Christian family which also included 2 sisters and a brother. Her enduring and loving family relationships were special with her sisters and brother and inspired the basis for lifelong friendships among themselves. Saranel attended Howard College, where she also worked as a switchboard operator during the depression years. She never...
Saranel Burford Detamore Davis, age 98, passed away peacefully on Sunday, March 12, 2017. Saranel was born in Birmingham, AL to the late James Franklin Burford, Sr. and Marguerite Varner Burford. She grew up in the Ensley Highalnds area and was blessed with a loving, Christian family which also included 2 sisters and a brother. Her enduring and loving family relationships were special with her sisters and brother and inspired the basis for lifelong friendships among themselves. Saranel attended Howard College, where she also worked as a switchboard operator during the depression years. She never met a stranger, and had a sparkling personality that allowed everyone around here to feel not only comfortable, but to feel "special". She was kind to everyone, always looking for the "best in people". After graduation Saranel married a Naval Officer, Lt. Lowell C. Detamore and they moved to San Diego, CA at Coronado Naval Base, while Lowell served in the Pacific Theater. After the war, they returned to Birmingham where their children Lowell C. Detamore, Jr. and Donna Marie Detamore were born. She carried on the tradition of her upbringing by always putting her children and family first. She and Lowell attended Ensley Highlands Methodist Church and taught Sunday school. Her faith in God was the pillar of her life and remained with her until her last breath. After Lowell died in 1971, she started a new life and she adopted the butterfly as her symbol of a new beginning, which earned her the names "The Butterfly Lady" or "Madam Butterfly". She was never without a small butterfly pin on her shoulder and a big smile. Saranel went back to college to obtain her Master's Degree in Education and taught in classrooms in Birmingham and Huntsville for 30 plus years. She always said that teaching was "The Job" for her and that there was no better place for her to be. She loved the rewards of the classroom, but the Butterfly Lady later moved into administration in the Huntsville City School system and eventually was the Director of Federal Programs. She worked with the Huntsville-Madison County Chamber of Commerce to establish an International Education Center and also served as a representative of the Huntsville Teachers Credit Union. After retirement she again devoted herself to her family and was always there for those in need. She loved to read, especially devotional and Christian books. She and her sisters Dorothy "Dot" and Margaret "Titter" and brother Frank, Jr. "Bubba" loved and enjoyed each other into their 90's and looked forward to their conversations around the family table. Saranel married Paul R. Davis, another wonderful, kind man from Huntsville in 1987. Paul and Saranel loved each other and enjoyed life to the fullest, especially traveling and interacting with people.
One of Saranel's favorite Bible verses comes from Romans 12: 6-8 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach;
8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
The Butterfly Lady always said "I want to do all of these' with God's help. Her life exemplified these traits.
Saranel was preceded in death by her husbands Lowell C. Detamore and Paul R. Davis; her parents, her sisters: Margaret Burford Dale and Dorothy Burford Brown and brother Frank Burford, Jr. She is survived by her children: Rip (Judy) Detamore and Donna (Win) Crawford; 6 grandchildren; 14 great grandchildren 2 nieces and 6 nephews. She will be missed by her family and all those that the Butterfly Lady touched during her long, wonderful life on earth.
Visitation will be held on Friday, March 17, 2017 at Ridout's Valley Chapel beginning at 12 noon with the funeral service following at 1:00 p.m. Burial will follow at Elmwood Cemetery.
Flowers are accepted. If you would like to send a memorial, please do so to St. Jude's Children's Hospital.