Alice Pinkham Davies, who helped thousands of clients with their business careers as the co-owner of a resume writing service, died of Alzheimer's disease Thursday at Gilchrist Hospice Care. She was 85 and lived in Towson.
Born Alice Arnold Pinkham in Washington, she was a descendant of John Alden and Priscilla Mullins, settlers of Massachusetts who arrived aboard the Mayflower. Her father was a Harvard-educated National Cash Register executive and her mother a homemaker.
Raised in Milton, Mass., she was a 1944 graduate of Milton High School and spent a year at the Brimmer and May School in Boston. She married and began raising a family after completing two years studying English at Smith College.
While raising her children, she held leadership roles in both of her daughters' Girl Scout troops. She organized a trip to Washington, participated in camp outings and was also active in the Sudbury, Mass., Unitarian Church, according to a biography supplied by her husband.
In 1969, after a divorce, she was not satisfied with the singles groups she encountered and decided to form an association for people who were newly separated and divorced.
"She found little in common with the extant support system, and with the help of a fellow ... parishioner, she designed and founded The Next Step. It was successful and later widely imitated as a self-help-based group," said her husband, Thomas E. Davies Jr. of Towson.
He said that within three years, her organization had more than 200 dues-paying members in the Boston suburbs. She also managed two group summer vacation houses for her members in Bismarck, Maine, and Harwich Port, Mass., in the early 1970s.
In 1973, she met her future husband through his pastor. He was raised in Parkville, had been in promotion at WBAL radio and was then working in Boston advertising. They married in 1974 after spending a summer at one of the residences she managed.
She then returned to Smith College and earned a sociology degree. She also spent four years at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where she completed her studies just short of a doctoral thesis. She received a master's degree in 1985.
She then joined her husband in a resume-writing business. They moved to Towson in 1991 and rented an office in a bank building on York Road in Rodgers Forge, operating as Career Pro of Towson. Over the years, she assisted thousands of people who wanted to advance in their fields. The couple worked together in adjoining offices.
"She was a great interviewer," said her husband, who has continued the business and is a Community College of Baltimore County adjunct faculty member. "Many of her clients became friends. There was a lot of repeat business and referrals, too."
He said his wife "was intuitive" and was "a practicing psychologist in her own sense." She had the ability to read people almost immediately, he said.
"She could tell a braggart, and she could tell when someone was trying to pull a fast one," he said. "She could also tell when someone was truly accomplished and had plenty to offer but was perhaps embarrassed to come to a resume writer."
He said she helped her clients, many of whom were physicians, academics and business executives, gain "a little edge" when seeking a new job.
Mrs. Davies believed that reading helped her writing and visited the Baltimore County Public Library weekly. She liked the works of James Patterson, J.K. Rowling and Jean Auel. She also enjoyed films at the Charles Theatre and attended Baltimore Symphony Orchestra performances, as well as exhibits at the Walters Art Museum and the Baltimore Museum of Art.
She retained a fondness for Maine lobster but came to enjoy Maryland crab imperial, her husband said.
Plans for a memorial service are incomplete.
In addition to her husband of nearly 38 years, survivors include three sons, Donald L. Grose of Framingham, Mass., Jay D. Grose of South Dennis, Mass., and Griffin T. Davies of South Yarmouth, Mass.; two daughters, Karen Way of Piscataway, N.J., and Elizabeth Rogalin of Chatham, N.J.; five grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. Her marriage to Donald Grose ended in divorce.