This time in this space allow me to honor the memory of a great father, Grady Mayfield, who transitioned June 1, from complications of diabetes. Grady is not a national luminary and perhaps is not recognized by the masses. But he was the kind of salt of the earth man who brought flavor to hundreds of lives, including his own family.
Born in Toccoa, educated at Savannah State and employed first as a teacher and administrator in the DeKalb School System, Grady retired as director of transportation for the DeKalb System. He enjoyed the 10 years following his retirement traveling around the country with wife Myrtle in their RV and entertaining family and friends in their home before the diabetes took its toll.
Great fathers like Grady Mayfield are first great men, men of good character, integrity, courage, compassion and humility. At his homegoing service June 8, former students spoke lovingly of a man who had a profound impact on their lives. Former colleagues spoke respectfully of a man who ran a tight ship but with an easy hand and stayed in his lane.
Grady and Myrtle had two sons who were his life. The older son, Darren, died tragically several years ago. Younger son, Kendrick, survives. Grady was a man who they could count on and a man worthy of their emulation. He adored and respected Myrtle, his high school sweetheart and wife of 42 years. He doted on his two grandchildren, London and Darius and took them everyplace—on cruises, to sporting events, on the road in his big RV.
They wrote moving tributes to him in the program for his homegoing service. London fondly recalled the fun travels with “grand pop,” the bear hugs and the hamburgers and cookies she made for him in his waning days. Darius, an admitted “hard head,” said his grandfather was a man of few words but said plenty when he spoke. Darius promised to make his granddaddy proud and carry on his legacy at Savannah State.
This space this time is dedicated to the memory of Grady Mayfield, a great man and a great dad. But before I sign off this time, let me mention a few more, many you might know.
President Barack Obama, Congressman Hank Johnson, Congressman John Lewis, Gov. Roy Barnes, Gov. Sonny Perdue, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, Atty. General Thurbert Baker, Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond, DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis, Sheriff Thomas Brown, Richard Crabbe, Al Ashe, Mike Zakel, Kevin Rowson, Paul Crawley, Commissioner Larry Johnson, Commissioner Lee May, Imam Plemin El Amin, Phil Levetan, Gregory Levett, Kenley Waller, David Chesnut, Rev. William Flippin, Rev. Gerald Durley, Richard Davis, Wendell Middleton, Bob Miles, Brad Davis, Lee Sanders, Judge Robert Castellani, Bishop Jim Swilley, Joel Edwards, Jack Sartain, Rep. Billy Mitchell, Rev. Joseph Lowery, Sen. Emanuel Jones, Brad Bryant, Porter and Brandon Sanford, Tom Cutts, Robert L. Brown, Matthew Ware, “Jo Jo” Johnson, Dale Cardwell, Bryan Johnson, Atty. Xavier Dicks, Rawn Hairston, Rev. Stephen Dial, Sen. Ronald Ramsey, Rev. George Moore, Rev. Raleigh Rucker, “Lank” Atkins, Bill Carter, Dr. Thomas Coleman, Dr. Glenn Dowell, Byron Jones Sr., Dr. Earl Glenn, Joel Edwards, Joey Edwards, Atty. Timothy McCalep, Rev. Jessie Curney III, Rev. Jerry Black, Major David Haigler, Dr. Eugene Walker, Reggie Peagler, Rev. Dennis Mitchell, John Evans and Judge Gregory Adams.
These men toil daily in their respective fields to give their families the necessities of life. They work long hours under sometimes dangerous, thankless and undesirable conditions. They cut grass, drive buses, bury the dead, shepherd flocks, report the news, argue cases, run companies and count the beans. We also salute those fathers who even though divorced from their children’s mothers continue to provide for their offspring and stay involved in their lives.
So on Father’s Day take dad to dinner or take him fishing. Buy a nice card, some cologne, a tie or a good book. Do anything that will make him feel like a king, at least for a day. Just imagine if we had more fathers like Grady Mayfield and those mentioned here. Imagine the possibilities for our communities.
Steen Miles, The Newslady, is a retired journalist and former Georgia state senator. Contact Steen Milies at Steen@dekalbchamp.com.