Brookhaven Exchange Club names Golden Deeds winner

Published 2:32 pm Monday, April 22, 2024

BROOKHAVEN — It has been six years since the last time the Exchange Club Brookhaven Chapter entered a new name into the book of Golden Deeds. Sarah Lloyd, a retired educator, was the last winner. 

Bill Hickman, a Brookhaven native and former member of the exchange club, introduced the 2024 Golden Deeds winner Friday evening at an awards banquet. He said the winner was born and raised in Brookhaven. She was nominated by the club members, was a graduate from Brookhaven High School and backpacked across Europe before going on to Mississippi State University. 

Glass said the winner moved out of the state and started her own business upon graduating from Mississippi State.

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“She never found the word no. She has gone over and above giving over 100 percent,” Hickman said. “Her love is far reaching. Her passion for it shows she has gone above and beyond doing things for our club. The winner is Barbara Davis.” 

After the awards dinner concluded, Davis was congratulated by hugs and well wishers including. Her brother and sister were in attendance so she suspected something was up. 

“I feel very honored,” Davis said Friday. “The first time I went to the Exchange Club I was impressed with how genuine they are. Someone mentioned tonight how it gets in your blood. I felt it. I have felt it so much. It is amazing.” 

The Golden Deeds winner was in the Delta Gamma sorority and was one of the first women’s tennis players at Mississippi State University lettering in 1975 and 76.

The first year after Title 9 passed Mississippi State started a Women’s Tennis team. Davis was on the team. 

“It was a dream of a lifetime,” Davis said. “It was an amazing experience being among the first team players and playing against the first women’s teams in major universities. I was the first team captain which was quite an honor.” 

She explained her teammate Wyeth Peets was their number one seed and had to play Tennessee’s Candy Reynolds. Reynolds was the number one player in the south at the time and had an intimidating hit like a “Davis Cup,” player. 

“The rest of us were glad we didn’t have to play her. Wyeth got a few games off her which was pretty amazing considering Candy went professional and was Martina Navratilova’s doubles partner,” Davis said. “I dated Chris Evert’s cousin and was fortunate enough to see Chris play in her last Virginia Slims tournament which she won. Mrs. Evert invited us to the players reception where she introduced me to Chris and Candy. The girls on the pro circuit are like family. They played for years against each other.” 

Movie Star friend

One of the tidbits of information Glass gave about Davis was she dated a movie star. Davis said she did not date a movie star but was close friends with one. 

His name was Miles Keefe. He was an MSU football player and they had met in one of their classes at state. 

“Unfortunately, I have lost touch with him,” Davis said. “Miles left State because he was redshirted and really wanted to play football. He went to Sewanee where he lettered in four sports and acted in theater. From there he moved to California where he was discovered by a talent agent and changed his name back to O’Keefe.” 

She said O’Keefe was the family’s original last name before they had changed it to make the name more American, common for people who migrated to the US. O’Keefe played Tarzan with Bo Derek. 

“People mistakenly thought he was a wildly good looking yet dumb actor. That was far from the truth,” Davis said. “He made straight As in College. After that, he acted a good bit in Europe and mainly in B movies.” 

Check back for the second part of Davis’s story tomorrow.