CHARLOTTE Dr. Melvin Leroy Gay Jr., 67, moved on to his heavenly home on Feb. 3, 2012, in the presence of family and so many friends from Central Piedmont Community College, who came in all day with stories of how he made such an amazing impact on their lives and on the college.
A Farmville native, Mel was born Dec. 15, 1944, to the late Melvin Leroy and Olive Lewis Gay. He had been married to his high school sweetheart, Dail Harris Gay, for 44 years.
Dr. Gay graduated from N.C. Wesleyan College in Rocky Mount, where he was the president of the student body. He earned his master s and doctorate in higher education from the University of North Carolina. Mel has been an avid fan of the Tarheels since, and this fact certainly has not been kept secret.
Dr. Gay began working for CPCC in 1969 as a counselor, advising students on their career objectives and goals. Since that time, he held a variety of leadership roles at CPCC, including director of counseling services, vice president of student development, dean of student development, and associate vice president for enrollment and student services, a role he held since 2001.
Much of Dr. Gay s career was focused on the study of developmental disabilities. He spearheaded several special projects and grants that assist this demographic, including the U.S. Department of Education s Postsecondary Education Consortium for the Hearing-Impaired, Learning Disabilities Consortium, Learning Disabilities Model Education Program and Consortium, and Student Support Services for the Disadvantaged.
During his 40-plus year tenure at CPCC, he was recognized for numerous awards, including the 1993 Administrator of the Year Award for Excellence, the 2010 Innovation of the Year Award and, most recently, the Eyes on You Award.
Mel took every opportunity to demonstrate his commitment to students, staff and returning veterans, making significant contributions to their support at CPCC. Mel inspired not by words but by modeling every day what he taught. His colleagues appreciated his quiet leadership, calming disposition and generous support of them and their work. Mel had the ability to make everyone around him feel as though they could accomplish anything. Even though he was a leader at the college, he never hesitated to roll up his sleeves and do whatever needed to be done.
He was an active member of the community, serving on the board of directors for Charlotte s International House, Goodwill Industries and National Kidney Foundation of North Carolina; an established writer; an accomplished speaker; and, most importantly, a dedicated husband, father and grandfather.
Mel is survived by his three special girls, his wife, Dail; daughter, Lesley Gay Shroyer; and granddaughter, Kailyn Dail Shroyer, with whom he had such a special relationship. He is also survived by close family, David Shroyer; Louise Woods, her husband Dick Woods, their children, Beth Collins and Rick Woods, and grandchildren; his sister-in-law, Teresa Harris Miller, her husband Chad Miller and their children, Holly Miller Ing and Holden Dixon Miller; and brother-in-law, Richard D. Harris Jr. and his wife June.
A memorial service celebrating the life of Dr. Mel Gay will be held Monday at 2 p.m. at Sardis Presbyterian Church, where he was a member. A reception will follow in the fellowship hall.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the CPCC Foundation for the Dr. Mel Gay Scholarship Fund., P.O. Box 35009, 1322 E. Fourth St., Charlotte, NC 28235. These contributions will allow Dr. Gay to continue helping students at CPCC for generations.
Arrangements are in the care of Hankins & Whittington Funeral Service. Please share condolences online at www.hankinswhittington.com