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Scripps Granddaughter And Her Husband Preferred Horses And Old Cars To High Society

SAN DIEGO (AP) - Ellen Scripps Browning Davis was more interested in spotted horses than societal circles, and she thought nothing of taking a shovel in hand to clean the stall of one of her prized saddlebreds. Mrs. Scripps Davis, the granddaughter of Scripps newspaper founder Edward Wyllis Scripps, was born and raised around horses on the Scripps Ranch property that her grandfather had owned since the 1890s. It was there, in the turn-of-the-century family home just north of San Diego, that Mrs. Scripps Davis, 84, and her husband, Everett Conley Davis, 83, died Sunday. Both died from smoke inhalation, believed to be caused by an electrical fire. "A lot of my friends do what they consider the fit and proper thing to do - sip tea and play bridge - and that's fine for them," Mrs. Scripps Davis told the San Diego Tribune in 1979. "But for me, this is just where I belong." For many years helped administer the Scripps League of Newspapers, which at one time published about 40 small newspapers throughout the country. But her heart was in horses. She was one of the first people in the United States to breed spotted American saddlebreds in large numbers. For years, she and daughter Michelle Macfarlane were regarded as one of the top mother-daughter teams in the nation. Her role as a horsewoman started with the basics. "I'm willing to clean a stall," Mrs. Scripps Davis once said. "I don't think it's improper to do this." Davis, a retired business law attorney, often joined Mrs. Scripps Davis and his family in riding horses from their ranch in the annual Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade. Known by friends as "Con," his primary hobby was antique automobiles. Davis had a collection of classic cars and kept some at the ranch. "Con didn't drive fancy cars, though," attorney Robert Lesh Jr., told The San Diego Union Tribune on Monday. "He drove around in a station wagon or an old El Camino." Lesh once shared a San Diego law office with Davis and was a longtime family friend. Mrs. Scripps Davis, affectionately called "Brownie," was an English major at Scripps College in Claremont, which was founded in 1930 by Ellen Browning Scripps, her great-aunt. Davis, a native of Spokane, Wash., earned a law degree at the University of Washington and began his practice in San Diego in about 1940. He retired in 1982. Mrs. Scripps Davis' sister, Josephine L. Scripps, a cattle rancher and former museum curator, died in 1992. Two brothers also are deceased: Edward Wyllis Scripps, who died in 1997, and James George Scripps, who died in 1986. The Davises are survived by daughters Michelle Macfarlane, who lives in Scripps Ranch, and Roxanne Victoria Greene of Los Angeles. Funeral arrangements were pending.

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