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  • Writer's pictureDavid Wood

The Matter with Words: Ode to Dorothy Davidson

Updated: May 14

Words matter.

Words like, ‘I love you,’ or ‘I’m sorry,’ or ‘goodbye.’

They can hurt, mend, build up, tear down, inspire or revolutionize.

Words can obscure or reveal; cloud or clarify.

After all, what polished TED Talk, what political oratory, what persuasive pronouncement could exist without the word?

Words can be powerful. But often, in times of great tragedy or triumph, times of shock or surprise or loss — words fail us.

Humans across millennia prove indefatigable in their efforts to force mere words to serve our full meaning as fundamental means of communication. How large, then, is the chasm between human experience and the words we have? Imposing? Illimitable? Infinite? Choose whichever word you like.

It’s undeniable that even the most epic words; the most idyllic, melodious, romantic, whimsical words ever spoken or penned throughout history by great men and women of literature, liturgy, philosophy or academia — however celebrated, sincere or well-intended, in many instances don’t quite measure up. A verbal collapse. Words relegated to proxies, placeholders for the reality of sentiment in the great linguistic divide.

Amid such endemic disparity, how could one begin to fully, unerringly describe a woman as dedicated, kind and elegant as Dorothy Davidson? Someone with such a divine propensity to disrupt, to deliver, to defy definition. Even those words somehow seem clumsy, inept, inarticulate. Words like, vanguard, mentor, pioneer, or trailblazer feel almost trite; too often attributed; too casually bandied about.

We could inventory and rhapsodize Dorothy’s milestones in grandiose song; mythologize her resume and ethic in elegiac prose; or wax poetic about the impact of her efforts — personally, professionally, philanthropically: but no discourse, no turn-of-phrase will manage to encapsulate her preeminence, her specialness.

Will words properly recognize the enterprise she helped build and amplify? The personal relationships and family dynamic she’s curated?

The cultural infrastructure she’s dutifully cultivated? The countless children who, imbued with her gifts, will be the first to banish generational poverty for their progeny? Fledglings who’ll flourish and gain ground, not with her name emblazoned across their chests like so many of the towering edifices and institutions she’s championed — but who’ll realize their own innate greatness, with her spirit shining in their hearts.

Will a word, or two, or hundreds even, begin to divulge her pluck or grit? Her constancy toward the very security of these United States? No. No idiom, maxim or adage could. No phraseology or dictum will suffice. But, dear Dorothy, for whatever a word is worth: on behalf of friends, family, your team, our community, the state of Alabama, this great nation — may we offer simply, humbly…'thank you.'


Team Davidson Remembrances & Reflections

“She always called me smiles because each time I saw her she said that I was always smiling.” — Jennifer

“The impact Dorothy Davidson made on my life, and my family's life, is immeasurable. Her faith in me as an employee, her care for me as a person, and her desire to ensure I succeed as a father and husband while also a professional, is unmatched. It is an enormous blessing to have worked for her, and more so to have known her. I will always cherish having had the pleasure to do so.” — Tony

“If she could help you, she would. She helped everyone she encountered. Sometimes that help was a financial gift or donations, but more importantly, that help came in the form of honest, candid, and wise advice, superior counseling in the form of friendly conversation, intentional comic relief, or true deep friendship. She was a true friend to me. I miss her mentorship and am forever grateful to have had the privilege of knowing her.” — Melody

“Dr. Davidson was a wonderful leader. She was inspirational in that she succeeded in a male-dominated field.” — Amy

“Dorothy was an amazing person to be around. Every discussion that I had with her was so inspiring!” — James

“We have a lot to be grateful for and are very fortunate to be citizens of this great country, employees of this amazing company, and to have the opportunity to keep alive and build upon the legacy of Julian and Dorothy Davidson by always maintaining integrity, doing our very best, and continuing to innovate in unprecedented ways for the benefit of our nation's security and advancement of humankind. The quality of the work produced by each and every one of us directly contributes toward justifying the value of the Davidson brand. As we strive to grow this exceptional organization, I hope and pray that we will always keep these things in mind. Our individual efforts, starting with President Holly and through every single employee, will determine the righteous success and long-term viability of what I believe Julian and Dorothy Davidson wanted for us. They deserve no less.” — Chris

“I never got a chance to meet her personally, but this is the first company I worked for that I truly enjoy being a member of the Davidson family. I appreciate all the opportunities and doors that this company has provided and opened for me.” — Tarika

“She was the hardest yet softest person I have ever met. She kept you on your toes but would bend over backwards to help you at any time. She always encouraged everyone to be their best and do their best. You will be greatly missed.” — Patty

“Mrs. Davidson was a wonderful person. She cared about the people that surrounded her in the workplace as well as those in the community. She was about making a difference. She was always willing to support the Davidson team and our community in Alaska. She touched so many people in different ways and her support will be the reason that the Davidson name is recognized in and around the Fort Greely and Delta Junction area for years to come. While Dorothy is gone from our day to day lives, she will always be in our thoughts and in our heart! I know she is in heaven looking down upon us and smiling.” — Dana

“I greatly appreciated her holding an all-hands to reassure us regarding the future of the company when Dr. Julian Davidson passed away.” — Rhett

“I am blessed to have worked for such an accomplished and dedicated leader who absolutely cared for all of the Davidson employees and treated them like family. Dorothy was dedicated to the defense of our nation, the well-being of our employees and making the Huntsville community a better place.” — Rick

“Dorothy cared about our company, cared about its employees, and cared that we would all be better off now and in the future.” — Bryan

“I returned to Davidson, in large part to work within Mrs. Davidson's organization. Words fail to describe the level of respect and pride to be part of her company. In the few times that I was able to directly converse and listen to her insights and commitment to her employees taught me a great deal and I will always be thankful for those interactions.” — Jon

“Dorothy believed not just in the company she and Julian built, but in the people inside Davidson and the Huntsville community. I will forever remember her for her kind and humble ferocity and her balanced approach to get things done and call it like it was. Dorothy will be dearly missed and remembered for the positive impact she had on so many.” — Graham



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