Shirley William Davenport of Montclair, a retired letter carrier for the U.S. Postal Service and proprietor of D’port Taxi, died on Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020. He was 85.
Mr. Davenport was born in Cumberland County, Va., on June 18, 1935, to cucumber and tobacco farmers Harry and Mary (Fleming) Davenport. He was the youngest of seven children and attended the public schools of Cumberland County.
Prior to leaving Virginia, he accepted Christ as his savior and was baptized.
Mr. Davenport moved to New Jersey in 1954, where he secured a job with Berless Cartons in Paterson. He eventually moved to Montclair, where he met Letitia Henson on the steps of Bright Hope Baptist Church in 1956. He joined Bright Hope in 1957 before entering the Army.
He and Letitia were married on Oct. 24, 1959, and they had four children.
After leaving the Army, Mr. Davenport returned to Montclair and went to work at the U.S. Postal Service in 1962. He was a letter carrier for more than 27 years and served as the president of the Montclair branch of the National Alliance of Postal Employees.
Mr. Davenport loved to help people and was always willing to serve. He had “Here comes help” and “There goes help” painted on the front and rear of one of his cars during the 1960s.
He loved Bright Hope, where he served as a Sunday School teacher, usher, trustee and treasurer. He would often stop by the youth center and church to check on the buildings and ensure things were operating smoothly.
Mr. Davenport was an active member of the Montclair branch of the NAACP and served as its president. He received an award in recognition of his community involvement in 1999. He also served with the Montclair Ambulance Unit.
He is survived by his loving wife of 61 years, Letitia; three sons, Ronald (Julie), of Yukon, Okla., Reginald (Stephanie), of Plainfield, and Rodger, of Montclair; a daughter, Sharon, of Montclair; a brother-in-law, Cornelius Henson (Hazel), of Washington, D.C.; 14 grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren and a number of nieces, nephews and cousins.
Funeral services were held at Bright Hope Baptist Church on Oct. 16. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations in Mr. Davenport’s name be made to Bright Hope Baptist Church – Youth Ministry, the Montclair Branch of the NAACP or the Montclair Ambulance Unit.