Harriet Carolyn Browning Davant of Blowing Rock, NC passed away peacefully surrounded by her family on February 9, 2020 at The Foley Center at Chestnut Ridge in Blowing Rock. She would have celebrated her 97th birthday on February 26.
Harriet Browning grew up in Raleigh and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill in 1944. She was one of the first women to earn this degree. In later years, she served as a trustee for the University’s Morehead Scholarship Foundation. She married Dr. Charles Davant Jr. of South Carolina in 1944. In 1948, Dr. and Mrs. Davant moved to Blowing Rock, where Dr. Davant opened a medical clinic. His passion was improving medical care for mountain residents, and Mrs. Davant’s support of him and their two children helped him realize that passion. Dr. and Mrs. Davant were married for nearly 60 years before his 2003 death. Mrs. Davant led many projects for the betterment of her beloved mountain community. She helped lay the foundations and establish the traditions for Blowing Rock residents’ volunteerism. The Blowing Rock Community Foundation named her “Woman of the Year” in 2016, describing her as a “Steel Magnolia” and “the ultimate Southern Lady.” She was smart, funny, independent, loyal, and dedicated to family, friends, and her community. She was relentlessly cheerful. She was beloved by all who were fortunate enough to know her. Her beauty, compassion, sense of humor, and gentile manner were incomparable. The “Harriet and Charles Davant Jr. Medical Clinic” at The Foley Center was named in her and her husband’s honor.
Mrs. Davant’s parents were Bertha and Getty Browning of Raleigh. Mr. Browning was the Chief Locating Engineer for the State of North Carolina. He was known as the “Father of the Blue Ridge Parkway” and was responsible for locating the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina. He walked every mile of the Parkway’s future route. He negotiated with Bertha Cone for permission to route the Parkway through her property, and he smoked peace pipes with the Cherokees in seeking access for the Parkway through their lands.
Mrs. Davant is survived by her son Dr. Charles (“Bunky”) Davant III and Bunky’s wife Teena; her daughter Dianne Davant Moffitt and Dianne’s husband H. Lee Moffitt; her granddaughter Ashley Winkelmann and Ashley’s husband Eric of Blowing Rock; her granddaughter Alyse Burke and Alyse’s husband Patrick of Boone; and grandson Charles Davant IV and Charles’s wife Meaghan of Washington, DC. Mrs. Davant is survived by six great grandchildren: Kylie and Luke Winkelmann, Browning and Jack Proctor, and Madeleine and Charles Davant V.
Funeral services for Harriet Carolyn Browning Davant will be conducted Wednesday afternoon, February 12, 2020, at 2:00 o’clock, at St. Mary of the Hills Episcopal in Blowing Rock. The body will lie in state, at the church, from 1:00 until 2:00 o’clock. Officiating will be The Reverend Andrew J. Hege. Burial will follow in Woodlawn Cemetery in Blowing Rock.
The family will receive friends Tuesday afternoon from 5:00 until 7:00 o’clock, at Hampton Funeral Service.
Harriet requested that, in lieu of flowers, she be remembered with a contribution either to St. Mary’s of the Hills Episcopal Church, 140 Chestnut Street, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, 28605 or the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation at www.brpfoundation.org/
Online condolences may be sent to the Davant family at www.hamptonfuneralnc.com
Hampton Funeral and Cremation Service is in charge of the arrangements.