Frank & Almeta: The story of a loving marriage

Published 6:01 pm Saturday, February 19, 2022

Love stories are in the hearts and on the minds of people all around the world when Valentine’s Day arrives, and in recognition of the holiday this year, two individuals who have faithfully served the Franklin community for years agreed to share the story that led to their loving marriage.

Frank and Almeta Davis are well-known in the area because they have long used their abilities to help people experience life at its best, particularly the area’s young people.

Almeta, who graduated from Franklin City Public Schools, was Parent Teacher Association president in Franklin, has served on the Ruth Camp Campbell Memorial Library Board, has been a correspondent for The Tidewater News, has volunteered for the Franklin Department of Parks and Recreation and has worked for FCPS. She currently works for the school division at its central office.

Frank, who was born and raised in Clifton Forge, has served as the Franklin Parks and Recreation director, has been a tennis coach at Franklin High School, is working as a media specialist at S.P. Morton Elementary School and is also currently a correspondent for The Tidewater News.

Frank regularly photographs FHS sporting events to highlight the achievements of the city’s young student-athletes, and Almeta has experience with this as well.

They have also photographed sports for Virginia State University, where they are both members of the alumni association.

Frank and Almeta first met in 1998 in Franklin. Each had been married previously, with children, and were once again single, but they found each other at a very important time in life.

Almeta had lived in Franklin from the age of 4 through her high school graduation and later returned to the city in 1995. Among other work, she was helping the school division in 1998.

“My sister, Mona Murphy, was on the school board, and she was working on a project,” Almeta recalled. “She was interviewing city department heads, and she gave me a couple of names to do for her, and Frank’s name just happened to be one of them.”

Almeta said that in this first meeting, what she really liked about Frank was that he was so excited about working with children through the Parks and Recreation Department.

“He was the director of parks and rec, and I, as a teenager, had been a part of the youth club at parks and recreation, so I knew how important it was to have someone who really liked kids and were all about making sure that the kids had everything they needed there, so he impressed me in that respect,” she said.

Frank said he immediately saw the possibility of a relationship with Almeta.

“I thought there were some possibilities there, because she was a very attractive woman, and I was single, and so yeah, there was an attraction there,” he said. “And I think we talked on the phone a few times.”

But then Almeta left the area for about six months.

“My oldest sister at the time was dying of colon cancer,” she said, “and her daughters were in college, and we didn’t want them to drop out of college to take care of her, so I went to New York for about six months … to take care of her.”

Before leaving, Almeta had loaned a computer disk to Frank with Print Shop Deluxe on it.

“He had been trying to return it to me over the six months, and he had called me several times, and of course, I wasn’t at home, and when I got back to Franklin, my mom told me that this gentleman had kept calling, and she didn’t want to give him any information,” Almeta said.

After learning the gentleman was Frank, she went to pick up the disk. He inquired where she had been, and she explained the situation with her sister.

“And he said, ‘Oh, I’m so sorry,’” Almeta recalled. Then she noted that in reference to aid she provided him before leaving town, he said, “‘The information that you gave me was so helpful to me, I have to take you out to dinner.’”

She said they went out on a Thursday, and it became a routine for a few months.

“I worked in Richmond, and I had my daughter from my previous marriage, so I really didn’t go out much, but I think we dated for about three months — one night a week on Thursdays,” she said.

This routine formed as 1998 gave way to 1999, and it was the beginning of what would become a seven-year dating relationship.

Almeta said she had a daughter, Courtnee, at home with her, and she and Frank wanted to wait to get married until Courtnee had graduated from high school and gone to college.

“Some people think it’s crazy, but we dated for seven years, but it was a strong, firm relationship,” Almeta said. 

Frank ended up being a major source of encouragement to Almeta and Courtnee during those seven years.

“My mother and my sister, they died within a year of each other with colon cancer,” Almeta said. “The thing that my daughter always says is that (Frank) came into our life when we most needed a friend, because our family was so grief stricken by the two deaths, we couldn’t help each other, and so he was there to help the both of us.”

At some point during Frank and Almeta’s dating relationship, Almeta told her best female friend about an illusion diamond that she liked.

Unbeknownst to Almeta, Frank spoke to her friend and learned about the ring.

“I didn’t know he had gotten the ring that I liked, and I didn’t know when I was going to get it,” Almeta recalled.

She described how Frank’s proposal speech memorably and humorously had two parts to it.

“He did propose to me, but the funny thing about the proposal is that right after he proposed to me, he fired me, because I had been volunteering for parks and rec for a number of years, and I did his youth festival and the youth festival pageant,” she said with a laugh.

She explained how the “firing” happened.

“Now, he always starts stuff off when it’s bad news, ‘Now, let me tell you something…’” she said. “I was like, ‘Oh, lord, he just proposed. Is he going to take the ring back?’ And he said, ‘I have to fire you because now that we’re engaged, I can’t let you work for me because if people say something about you, it would go straight to the heart; I can’t deal with that.’ He said, ‘I think people will try to go after you.’ So he fired me.”

But most significantly, Frank and Almeta were now engaged.

When the time came, Almeta took Courtnee to college and helped her get settled there before returning home to Franklin. She said Frank was out of town at that time.

“Three days later he showed up and he had a moving van, and he had all the guys, and he said, ‘I’m ready to move your furniture,’” Almeta recalled. “And I was like, ‘But we’re not married yet.’ He says, ‘Don’t worry. I’ve got everything together. We’re getting married on Saturday.’”

Frank, who was sitting next to Almeta as she recalled these details, interjected at this point to say, “You’ve got a good memory.”

The wedding happening on a holiday weekend in 2005, and Almeta said Frank came up with everything quickly.

“We just dressed up and we went,” she said. “All the family was doing something else, so we just went by ourselves.”

Frank and Almeta were joined by a minister they knew well, and he did three hours of marriage counseling with them the morning of Sept. 3, 2005.

“After he finished every page of the counseling, he married us,” Almeta said.

Frank noted they got married in First Baptist Church of City Point in Hopewell.

They have now been married for 17 years and together for 24 years.

Sharing insights on what has helped their relationship last, Almeta noted how in the case of her and Frank, opposites definitely attracted.

“I get excited and I’m very animated, and Frank just sits there, and if I get mad at him and I get very animated, he won’t say anything,” she said. “And five minutes later, he’ll come and start talking to me like nothing ever happened, and I’m like, ‘Oh, why can’t he just be mad with me for five minutes. Give me five minutes!’

“I think it’s true — opposites attract,” she continued. “One person has to keep it going with the animation and one person has to be cool, calm and collected. It just makes it the right balance for us.”

Frank added that they have spent a lot of quality time with one another, particularly through traveling.

Almeta said, “I always tell people, ‘I have the nicest husband, so don’t come and tell me anything bad about him because I will not believe you.’ He is just a sweet man.”

Frank had similarly high praise for Almeta.

“She’s just been an excellent, excellent wife,” he said. “She’s been an excellent mother, homemaker and cook — the whole nine yards.”

“The biggest thing is I guess we’ve learned how to enjoy life and enjoy each other, and our families get along real well together,” he said. 

Their children from their previous marriages include Courtnee Ellsworth, Margo Maddox and Frank Davis Jr., and they have three granddaughters and one grandson.

“We host family dinners and all kinds of activities,” Frank said. “I guess the biggest thing is just learning how to enjoy life at its best.”

Almeta said she and Frank “just have a grand old time. We don’t have a perfect marriage, but we have a loving marriage.

“And I know how to make him smile too.”

“Yes, she does,” Frank said.