My dear friend, Gerda,
My prayers and thoughts are with you on this day. How often I have thought of you, Claire, and Rose this week! I’ve driven past your house every day and each time I lifted you up to the Lord. I probably should have come in, but there were always so many cars...
Tom and I attended the Celebration of Life service today but we did not have the opportunity to get anywhere close to you due to all the people who love you and your family, and especially your special husband, Dale. Dale’s legacy will continue to be revealed to you in the days, weeks, and months ahead.
I wanted to take this opportunity to share with you some of our special memories of time spent with you and Dale. First of all, our Sunday summer afternoons at the Gettysvue pool...how we enjoyed our laid-back conversations and laughs around the pool! Of all the things we miss about our Gettysvue days, we miss our time with “the Mayos” most of all!
Then there were the fourth of July parties out at the Slack’s lake house. Tell me, does it ever get better than that? Popsicles, children, good food, and lifelong friends- these are the things that make up “the good ol’ days.”
I’ve enclosed some pictures for you and your girls. Dale was the first person I called for help after scheduling “Mission Unstoppable,” our 8th grade service project for the Mission of Hope. Four out of the last five years, Dale worked all day in my classroom at West Valley, helping my students assemble the toys they’d purchased. Many times, he would have to “undo” their work and fix the toy before we could send it on to Appalachia. Dale was never there to draw attention to himself. He had a way of being there when he was needed, but he never took over. Dale patiently guided my students so they would learn to do it themselves. The loss of our Mission Unstoppable project was one of the reasons I struggled with decision to leave West Valley.
This fall, I am teaching in an inner-city elementary school. As you well know, the dream of Reach Them to Teach Them, has been my passion for the past four years. I want to see our city united; I want to see people in our town set aside our differences and come together. If people fully grasped the power of their influence in the lives of others, they would consider their influcence a privilege that comes with great responsibility. Dale wasn’t a teacher by profession, but he was a teacher in the way he lived his life. He led people to “discover” truths for themselves that were hidden in plain sight.
In the past three days we have heard (and told) many “Dale Mayo” stories. Just tonight, Mike Taylor shared with us how much it meant to him to have Dale show up in his hospital room with an office chair so Mike could work while he was fighting cancer.
I distinctly remember a message on our answering machine a few years ago from an “Alphonse Derongelo,” letting me know that a package had been dropped off on my back porch. It seemed that “Mr. Derongelo” had purchased several cases of student Bibles for the students who showed up at a summer Bible study I was having at my house.
Gerda, my heart breaks for your loss, but oh, my friend, how very blessed we’ve all been to have known your sweet husband! The only thing that can provide comfort for those of us who remain on this side of heaven is the decision to live our lives as evidence of having known Dale Mayo.
His quiet way of assessing a situation, of using what resources he had to meet a need, of never having met a stranger, of not being a “consumer,” his dry, intellectual sense of humor, the way he took joy in the simple pleasures of life...the world is forever different because he was here. Lives have been changed, hearts of been touched. Just today, several people accepted Christ into their lives for the first time. Even in death, he continues to point people toward Jesus.
I recently finished reading a book entitled, “Same Kinda Different as Me.” There is a passage in the book that speaks to loss. “Our limitation is God’s opportunity. When you get all the way to the end of your rope and there ain’t nothin you can do, that’s when God takes over.” Please know that in the days ahead, you may be overcome with grief, you may cry out to God like you’ve never cried out to Him before. I know that this loss is too much for you to handle, but it’s not too much for God. Let Him carry you.
Friend, we love you. We love your family. We love spending time with you. We are looking forward to being with you again soon.
With much love and constant prayer for you,
Amy and Tom Crawford