Feeling gutted. I just heard that a former colleague and a dear, dear friend passed away this week. If you knew or worked with Paul Mayer you'll have plenty of memories of your own, but I need to share a few thoughts of one of the finer people I ever worked with.
Paul was a very smart guy and had a very cutting sense of humor. A perfect example? At one campus wide staff meeting years ago faculty and staff were brainstorming ways to improve the campus and one faculty member suggested seeking funds to build another academic building so each teacher could have a dedicated classroom. That faculty member said that when it rained or snowed and he had to teach in another building he and his papers would always get wet on the walk. Paul raised his hand and said "Why don't we save a few million dollars and buy Tom an umbrella?"
Paul was a very considerate friend. Chris invited Paul to my surprise birthday party when I turned 40 and years later after he retired, and a few days before I turned 50, Paul showed up at my office with a big cooler. Inside? A perfectly cooked cheesecake that Paul made as a gift. He said "I know cheesecake is your favorite but I couldn't remember if you prefer strawberry or blueberry topping" When I replied that I liked them both equally he smiled and said "good thing I made some of both!" and pulled two small containers out from his cooler. " Happy birthday Daniel! (he always called me Daniel) Enjoy it but make sure you get my springform pan back to me!"
He was ALWAYS the first faculty member I called when I needed someone to chair a committee or provide a faculty perspective for a project I was working on. I trusted his judgement, knew he would always give me truthful, no bs feedback, and knew he was so well respected among his peers that he could very effectively lead a team if I asked him to.
More than all that, he was a dear friend. We made a few trips to the Kittery Trading Post and then Cabelas after it was opened and always stopped at his favorite pizza joint in South Portland. I'll never forget those trips. "Daniel, you drive. I'll buy the pies" On one trip Brandon tagged along and even though he was only 11 or 12 at the time, Paul talked to him about fishing the whole way home.
I invited him to shoot clays at my range at the Crocker Family Forest and found he was a crack shot with his o/u. We fished together many times. He'd always say - We can use your boat and use my lake (Cold Stream) and I enjoyed every minute we spent trolling around the lake. He gave me a small gift wrapped box one of the last times we fished together that had a note on the front: For Brandon - Do Not Open until Christmas. A few months later Brandon opened it up to find a box of Mepps Spinners and some Beetle Jigs, Paul's favorite two lures and some that he had told Brandon about so many years ago.
Co-workers don't often express their true feelings for one another out loud, but after a 30 plus year relationship with Paul as colleague and friend I have nothing but tremendous fondness and respect for him and given his actions toward me, believe the feeling was mutual. I just wish he were still here so I could say - Goodbye Paul. Love ya!
Peace and love,