Gulf Shores and Orange Beach communities have been in mourning for the past few weeks following the unexpected death of Rebecca Davis-Brown on Oct. 19. Davis-Brown, who died in a car accident, was an …
Gulf Shores and Orange Beach communities have been in mourning for the past few weeks following the unexpected death of Rebecca Davis-Brown on Oct. 19.
Davis-Brown, who died in a car accident, was an instructor for the Orange Beach Expect Excellence after-school program, music department and a member of South Baldwin Community Theatre.
Most recently, Davis-Brown had served as assistant director for SBCT's "Nightfall with Edgar Allan Poe," which ran from Oct. 5-15 and starred her husband, Matthew Davis-Brown, as Poe.
"The cast and crew and volunteers fell in love with her, and as we prepared for a cast party the Friday evening following the close of the show, we were stunned and grieved to learn she was taken from us in a fatal road accident the day before," said Robert Gardner, vice president of marketing for SBCT. "Not only did Matt lose his wife, our director, Ashley Nowling, lost her best friend and we lost our shining new friend. The community also lost all that might have been if Rebecca remained among us."
According to Jessica Langston, creative director for the City of Orange Beach, both Rebecca and her husband were instructors with the program, and she also co-founded and served as editor-in-chief of The Orange Beach Journal.
"She and her husband, Matt, were married in late July of 2022, and after becoming an instructor with E.E. in the summer of last year, Davis-Brown had a very positive influence on the program and students in many ways," Langston said. "Calling the OBLJ a 'passion project' in a recent interview, the online journal began about a year ago by publishing works of E.E. students, which Davis-Brown taught in her creative writing course. She hoped starting the journal and mentoring the kids through [their] 'creative process' would 'help them find a love for writing because it's becoming a lost art,' she said."
Langston also said that Davis-Brown was working toward a master's degree with a poetry concentration from Queens University in North Carolina after previously graduating from the University of South Alabama with a bachelor's degree in English.
"At only 25 years old, Rebecca was already a creative force who enriched the lives of those she met and those who encountered her talent through her poetry writing, dance performances and instruction, choreography and her desire to fuel the creative writing abilities of kids," Langston said. "Her passing is a tragic loss to all E.E. staff who have been left with conflicting emotions. The immediate response is one of profound grief and sorrow because Rebecca is gone much too soon, but they also remember they had the joy of knowing Rebecca, even if only for such a short time."
Additionally, Langston said Davis-Brown had choreographed the program's recent productions of "The Little Mermaid" and "Junie B. Jones," performed a lyrical dance piece with Chris Jenkins, an instructor with the E.E. Music Department, during the 2022 production of "Visions of Christmas" and facilitated both choreography and dance duty for the July performances of "Dream On: A Tribute to Classic Rock."
"Rebecca most recently won second place in the Alabama State Poetry Society's 2023 fall contest with her submission of 'Elementary College Tour,'" Langston said. "Her works have also appeared in the Looming Literary Journal, Phantom Kangaroo and the Susquehanna Review, and she edited for the QU Literary Magazine, Negative Capability Press and The Oracle. This year, she had also become a board member with the Alabama Writers Cooperative."
Langston said that while the GoFundMe campaign for expenses related to the funeral for Rebecca has been suspended after reaching the goal, the city is still accepting contributions for expenses related to her medical bills.
Interested parties can drop off contributions at Expect Excellence front desk at the Recreation Center 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays.
"When I think of her in eternity, I'm filled with joy and anticipation. I wonder if she still does ballet, or if she's learning a new dance. I wonder what she writes about, like what she specifically notices about God," Matthew wrote in an Oct. 24 social media statement. "I'm grateful for the time I had with her. I wish I had more. But I know someday time won't matter in our relationship. All that will matter is that we'll be with the One who brought us together."