Video: Gary Mayhew Memorial Service

Dec 6, 2021 | 0 comments

Gail Rubin conducted this memorial service for Gary Mayhew on November 5, 2021. Speakers included his sister Debbe Noto, friends from his gaming group and music groups, and math students Gary taught. This video starts with a photo montage of Gary throughout his life, and a video message from Gary in 2013 at the end.

Gary Mayhew Memorial Service

A Moving Testimonial about Gary Mayhew

Just before the event, held outside in Altura Park, a former math student of Gary’s at Sandia High School delivered an envelope with the following testimonial. She said to share it with his family. It’s too good not to share with everyone.

“Today I read the obituary for Gary Mayhew. It’s been years since I thought of him, but the notice did take me back in time to when I first met Gary.

I was a student at Sandia High School. They year was probably 1975 or 1976. I was a messed up girl from a very bad background. I was into drugs and barely made it to any of my classes. Mr. Mayhew was my Math teacher.

At this time, I was in my mid teen years, and he must have been in has late twenties. No, I didn’t have a school girl crush on him. But in a different way, he changed my life.

By fifteen years old, I already knew that men were mean, cold, and ready to abuse me in one way or another. History had taught me some very difficult lessons in that regard. However, Mr. Mayhew was kind, warm, and only wanted me to try harder in Math class – nothing else.

Gary showed me that a man could be kind. He showed me that teachers could be kind. He didn’t put me down. He didn’t make snide comments when I finally showed up for class. He pretended to ignore the fact that I was stoned most days. He never raised his voice (or a hand) to me. He just kept welcoming me back and asking me to try.

Gary Mayhew teaching

Gary Mayhew teaching at Sandia High School

He would sometimes give us a treat and pick up his guitar. Reading the obituary, I discovered that he probably was just learning at that time. I can clearly see him sitting on the corner of his desk. He kind of looked like a combination of a geeky Bill Gates and a soulful Jackson Browne with his blondish hair hanging in front of his eyes as he played. Cat Stevens’ “Moonshadow” was the song. I’ll never forget it.

Over the years, whenever I have heard that song, I’ve thought of Mr. Mayhew. I still suck at Math. I still dropped out of high school. I chose a long, tough road for myself back then. It took me a long, tough time to claw my way out of the pit.

However, I did it. I became a teacher, too. I’ve been at it for more than 25 years now. Now I’m an old woman myself, but I try to remember what Gary Mayhew taught me – about how to be a teacher, yes. But more importantly – about how to be a human.

As educators, we all know that kids are looking at us every day. What we might tend to forget is that even when it seems like we’re not getting anywhere, we are still making an impression. Gary Mayhew influenced my life in ways that he never knew. I am only one of literally thousands of young people who were lucky enough to have known him.

He did good for this world.”

Lauradean Morganti

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