Peace Award Given Posthumously
Barbara Ann Davis of Asheville was honored posthumously on Friday, March 16, as the 2018 recipient of the Dispute Resolution Section’s Peace Award. The award was presented at the section’s annual meeting and CLE in Pinehurst.
“Barbara Davis was devoted to the practice of alternative dispute resolution,” said LeAnn Nease Brown, section chair. “She used her talents to create a community mediation center in Western North Carolina; she brought community mediators together statewide; she promoted school mediation and most recently gave her enthusiasm to the collaborative law movement.
“Barbara loved life, dance, music and helping people find solutions to problems. We are gratified this year’s Peace Award pays tribute to her legacy in alternative dispute resolution in North Carolina.”
Davis was terminally ill when she was nominated by fellow section member Sarah Corley of MediationWorks in Asheville, who accepted the award on her behalf.
“Barbara has been a major contributor to both community and court-related mediation movements in North Carolina and to the development of collaborative law practice as well,” Corley stated. “She has been an influential member of the attorney-mediator community. And, most recently, Barbara has been one of the pioneers of the collaborative law movement in North Carolina.
“I cannot imagine a person in North Carolina more worthy of the Peace Award than Barbara Ann Davis.”
Davis died on Dec. 9, 2017, at the age of 64. She was a native of Miami and graduate of the University of Florida (1974) and the University of Florida (now Levin) College of Law (1977).
Following law school, Davis continued her migration north, first as a public defender in north Florida and shortly thereafter, in 1979, as a permanent resident of western North Carolina. Her affinity for music and dance meshed perfectly with the Asheville area’s emerging arts and music culture, of which she was both a participant and avid spectator.
She also held an affinity for helping those less fortunate than herself, beginning with her service as a legal services attorney, followed by her role in establishing the region’s first domestic violence program.
In 1984, Davis founded The Mediation Center, a non-profit community program, and served as its executive director. The Center, her obituary stated, “has taught mediation skills to thousands, including police officers, teachers, young children, lawyers, juvenile offenders, college students, and professors.”
Davis left The Mediation Center, which is still in operation, in 2000 to establish a private practice in collaborative law and mediation, “helping clients to resolve disputes peaceably and legally, without going to court,” her obituary continued.
One of the greatest joys of her life, she noted on her firm’s website, was a cross-country bicycle trip that she signed up for at the age of 50.
“In 2003,” Davis said, “I rode my bicycle across the United States – from the Atlantic Ocean in St. Augustine, Florida, to the Pacific Ocean in San Diego, California. It took 51 days, and 3,000 miles, and was one of the most challenging and amazing journeys in my life.
“This was a self-organized group, just 5 women, and we raised funds – nearly $30,000 – for women's cancer programs in our local communities.”
The Dispute Resolution Section Peace Award honors a person who has made a special contribution or commitment to the peaceful resolution of disputes, including but not limited to the following: (a) Development of new or innovative programs; (b) Demonstrated improvements in service; (c) Demonstrated improvements in efficiency; (d) Research and writings in the area of dispute resolution; (e) Development of continuing education programs; (f) Leadership with local, state and national boards and legislative bodies.
Past recipients of the Dispute Resolution Peace Award are Carmon Stuart (2002); Scott Bradley (2003); Frank Laney (2004); Jacqueline Clare (2005); J. Anderson Little (2006); Ralph Walker (2007); Charlotte Adams , Beth Okum and Tan Schwab (2008); Chief Justice James G. Exum (2009); Judge James Long (2010); John Schaefer (2011); Judge Jim Gates (2012); George Walker (2013), Ann Anderson (2014), Mark Morris (2015), Leslie C. Ratliff (2016) and Rene Stemple Trehy (2017).