LaDeva Davis, “What’s Cooking?”, dies at 78

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that LaDeva Davis, a beloved instructor and the star of What’s Cooking?, has died at the age of 78. 

Davis’s family has confirmed her passing in a statement.

The statement indicates that Davis died on Thursday, Sept. 8. The passing is said to be the result of a massive stroke that Davis suffered.

Who was she?

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Davis would go on to play a big role in the community.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in music education from the Universit of Arts, which, at the time, was known as the Philadelphia Musical Academy, Davis would go on to teach at the Academy at Palumbo, which also had a different name at the time – Bartlett Junior High.

Davis taught there for 12 years before, in 1978, becoming a founding faculty member of the Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA). Davis would be CAPA’s dance director and choreographer for decades to come.

Davis, in fact, would continue teaching for most of her life, not only at CAPA but also at Swarthmore College. In 2015, she received the National Council of Negro Women’s Mary McLeod Bethune Award for leadership, excellence, and achievement in education.

Although Davis is mostly known for her teaching, she is also remembered for being the star of the PBS cooking show What’s Cooking? Although not a professional chef, Davis got the job because of her charismatic personality. And, she would go on to appear in other television programs as well.

“An icon . . . a legend”

CAPA’s principal, following the news of Davis’s passing, put out a statement calling Davis “a legend.”

“She was an icon, she was a legend, but she believed in students more than anybody I’ve ever met in my career,” Beaver said. “She pushed to bring out the very, very best in every child. She never ever gave up on a kid, ever. None of us will ever know the magnitude of the lives she touched, people she changed.”

Davis, no doubt, will be missed by the countless lives she has touched during her lifetime as an instructor.

Davis is survived by her niece, Beth Johnson, and her nephew, Ed Davis.

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