Dad: ‘I’m going to miss you’

Persayus Davis-May’s funeral fit for a princess

The casket containing the body of Persayus Chanell Davis-May is transported from the Jaylex Event Center to J.E. Washington Funeral Home along Glenwood Avenue on Thursday. The carriage, provided by Carriage Limousine Service LLC of Wellsville, was driven by Rick Steed, who was accompanied by his wife, Edith.

YOUNGSTOWN — Throughout the funeral for 10-year-old Persayus Davis-May, Pastor Derrick Anderson repeatedly called the girl a “princess”– and her death “the flight of a princess.”

The girl was shot to death, apparently by bullets intended for adults, early Aug. 18 while in her home on Samuel Avenue on the South Side.

Many of the people who spoke Thursday at the funeral described how loving Persayus had been. Her grandfather, Ervin May, called her “a happy child, a joy, and she had lots of fun.”

So seeing her body in her casket at the front of the Jaylex Event Center was difficult, May said. The fact that she was dressed much like a princess and wore a tiara did little to lessen the pain.

“I can’t believe it,” he said. “This is real. This is not a game out here,” he said outside after the service ended.

The family had a business called Pa. Doves of Love release about a dozen doves from containers alongside the church after the funeral as another symbol of Persayus’ flight from her earthly body. Bill Baker of the company said the doves returned to his home in Franklin, Pa., after the release.

After that, the family continued its goodbyes by walking behind a horse-drawn carriage carrying Persayus’s body in a casket with a rounded, glass top.

The carriage traveled from Lake Street beside the Jaylex Center to Glenwood Avenue and a short distance south to the J.E. Washington Funeral Home. There, pallbearers lifted the casket and carried it into the funeral home. Police stopped traffic for the procession.

The crime remains under police investigation. Three adults outside of the home also were hit by gunfire but survived.

A man, 40, was found shot to death in a pickup truck that crashed 1.3 miles south of Samuel Avenue. Another man in the truck was struck by gunfire but survived. Police say the two sets of shootings are related. No one has been arrested.


During the funeral, Pastor Anderson stressed that Persayus was not in the casket, only her body. “You just live in the body,” he said.

“The real Persayus is not in the body because Scripture says to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. She has just traded one house with another house — a house that has not been made by hands.

“She lived in the body and is absent or separated from her body as she is present with the Lord,” he said. “I’m talking about the flight of a princess.”

Her father, Tony Davis, was the first of about a half-dozen people who spoke about the girl, who attended fourth grade in the Youngstown City Schools last year.

“She was full of energy. She loved her dad. She loved her mom,” he said. “Short-lived as she was, she was a bundle of joy.”

“It’s hard for me, you all,” he said, having trouble continuing. “One of the things I tell my son is as a man you protect your family and provide for your family. I feel like I failed my family because she passed on my watch.”

A woman responded back, saying: “Don’t say that. You are an awesome dad,” which brought applause.

Davis ended with this farewell to his daughter: “I’m going to miss you.”


Davis said he selected the name Persayus for his daughter because of the character from Greek mythology and movies. Persayus is the name of the only son of Zeus and Danae. He was one of the greatest heroes in Greek mythology, according to Greekmythology.com.

The 2010 action fantasy film “Clash of the Titans,” a remake of the 1981 film of the same name, is loosely based on the character Persayus from Greek mythology, according to various film websites.

Aaliyah May, an older sister of Persayus, said, “Now that she’s gone, I don’t know what I’m going to do. I’m gonna need a lot of support.”

“I love Jesus,” Anderson said during his sermon. “He is the only one I know who can comfort you during your darkest hour. Only God can heal a broken heart.”

Persayus had a passion for dolls, TikTok, YouTube, and Titi toys and dolls. She loved cooking with her mother and wanted to be just like her, according to her obituary. She helped her mom with anything she needed and wanted to look and smell just like her. She had nine brothers and three sisters, her obituary states.


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