That, however, has not been the case with the Rev. T. Ralph Davis. Throughout his life and ministry, Brother Ralph has maintained a healthy balance between providing nourishment for the spirit and the body. This characteristic became obvious early in his life. His mother often remarked that Ralph was the one who could be found helping her in the kitchen as she prepared meals for her large family.
Theodore Ralph Davis was one of five children (two girls and three boys) born to Lafe and Ela (Beam) Davis. He arrived on August 2, 1928, in Norge, Oklahoma. His father, Lafe, worked for Frisco Railroad.
Ralph was born again at age 17 at the Cyril (Oklahoma) Assembly of God. He graduated
from Cyril High School in 1946. (Later he attended Southwestern Bible College [now Southwestern Christian University]).
Following his tour of military duty, Ralph took a Civil Service position at nearby Ft. Sill as a GS-3, Personnel Office. Later he worked in the Comptroller Section at Ft. Sill Headquarters until January 1954.
During these transitions, Ralph never wavered from his Christian faith and commitment. At the West Oklahoma Conference Camp Meeting in 1955, he met the girl of his dreams. He says as soon as he saw her he knew LaVeta Darrah was the girl with whom he wanted to spend the rest of his life. They married on November 9, 1956, at the Lookeba Pentecostal Holiness Church. The newly-weds made their home in Cyril and attended the Cyril PH Church.
Ralph served the local congregation wherever he was needed. He taught Sunday school, served as Sunday school superintendent, and even played the piano. But, as his daughter, Paula, recalls, one could always find her dad in the kitchen helping out. “He was the one who planned the pancake breakfasts, Valentine banquets, Indian taco suppers, spaghetti suppers, and Sunday dinners. He loved working in the local church.”
About the same time Ralph’s father died in February 1966, God began to speak to Ralph’s heart about a call into the ministry. Over the next few months, he heard several messages based on Isaiah 6:8: “Whom shall I send and who will go for us?” He accepted those words as confirmation that God was, indeed, calling him into pastoral ministry. In August of that year, the Examination Committee of the West Oklahoma Conference licensed him and offered him a pastorate at the Mountain View Church. He accepted the offer and preached his third sermon as pastor of that congregation.
When Paula and her husband launched Calvary Temple, a nondenominational church in Cyril, Ralph and LaVeta threw themselves into the project. “When we started our church, the first thing dad said was that he had always wanted to have a coffee house,” recalls Paula. “As soon as we obtained the proper facilities, we opened our first coffee house. He and a few of the church people served a full breakfast every Saturday morning for whoever wanted to come. He ran the coffee house until his health began to wane, but even that didn’t stop him. He went from serving a full breakfast on Saturdays to opening from 10 until 11 a.m. for the townsmen to gather for a morning coffee break. Many of the men would stop in to discuss the world’s problems over a cup of Joe and a piece of cake or cookies. I often would find them huddled in prayer.”
About a year ago, Brother Ralph hung a sign on the Coffee House window that read: “Due to health reasons, I will be shutting down the Coffee House for a while.” (Notice that he left it open-ended.) Though he has been diagnosed with the early stages of Alzheimers, he shows up at the church office from time to time to help wherever he can. He also rises every morning and prepares a full breakfast for him and LaVeta … and whoever else happens to stop by.