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Romay Davis: 1919-2024

Honorary Top Woman in Grocery Trailblazer Award winner was beloved Winn-Dixie employee for many years
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Last December, Progressive Grocer presented Romay Davis (right) with the publication's first-ever honorary Top Woman in Grocery Trailblazer Award. Photo: Susan Schneider

Romay Davis, World War II vet, Congressional Gold Medal honoree, clothing designer, martial artist, beloved Winn-Dixie employee and all-around genuine trailblazer, died Friday, June 21, at the ripe old age of 104, according to her longtime caregiver, as reported in The Montgomery Advertiser, her hometown Alabama newspaper.

Born in Virginia in 1919, Ms. Romay, as she was affectionately known, enlisted in the Army in 1943 as a private first-class in the U.S. Army 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion. At a time when women and people of color faced discrimination, her predominantly Black, all-female battalion cleared backlog in just three months by sorting an average of 195,000 pieces of mail per day. After her military service, for which she later received the American Congressional Gold Medal, Ms. Romay became a NYU multidegree scholar, worked in real estate and fashion, earned a black belt in taekwondo, and rejoined the workforce as a Winn-Dixie associate in 2001, when she was more than 80 years old.

In 2020, Winn-Dixie’s then parent company, Southeastern Grocers (SEG), launched the Romay Davis Belonging, Inclusion and Diversity Grant in her honor. SEG and its Winn-Dixie and Harveys banners have since been acquired by ALDI.

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This past December, Progressive Grocer paid tribute to Ms. Romay’s many achievements in grocery and beyond by presenting her with the publication’s first-ever honorary Top Woman in Grocery Trailblazer Award. The honor was bestowed in person at Ms. Romay’s local Winn-Dixie store in Montgomery, where she had started working after deciding that retirement didn’t agree with her. During PG’s visit, she described how she essentially carved out her own position, keeping product neatly arranged on shelves and greeting customers. “It’s those things that matter,” she explained. 

In describing her approach to life and work she kept it simple: “I enjoyed doing whatever I’ve done.”

There will be a viewing from noon to 8 p.m. Thursday, June 27, at the Ross-Clayton Funeral Home, in Montgomery, and Ms. Romay’s funeral will take place at 11:30 a.m. Friday, June 28, at the Fort Mitchell National Cemetery, in Fort Mitchell, Ala., The Montgomery Advertiser reported. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the 6888th Monument Committee, c/o 9701, Weatherby Lake, MO, 64152-1825; the National WWII Museum, in New Orleans; or the Winn-Dixie SEG Gives Foundation under “The Romay Davis Belonging, Inclusion & Diversity Grant” at

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