PAWLING - Michael Mayer, 73, a homegrown Pawlingite, submitted his final grades after kicking pancreatic cancer's ass for as long as humanly possible.
Mike is survived by his wife of 50 years, Judith Upton Mayer, daughters Kathy (Brad Eggleston, Newtown CT), Jennifer (Elkton MD), Deborah (Herb Burns, Wallkill, NY), and Sandra (John Baresich, Waxhaw, NC).
He was an obnoxiously proud Grandpa Mike to ten granddaughters and one grandson to whom he bequeaths all sorts of inappropriate potty humor. He is also survived by siblings Susan Kane Roberts and Hale Mayer, beloved cousins Bud and Alice Aherns, scores of loved ones, and countless strangers he called friends.
Mike prided himself on never being sick or hospitalized, his only complaint a bad back from too many oil changes on all things Porsche and Corvette. Instead, he saved a collection of devastating diseases (diabetes, glaucoma, Parkinson's, pancreatic cancer) for the very end, yet his brain sharp and sense of humor alive and kicking for the entire medical profession to fully appreciate. Or not.
A strong advocate for public education, Mike helped hundreds of students financially, emotionally, and automotively, providing academic guidance and friendship that far surpassed his 30+ year mathematic tenure at Dutchess Community College.
A lifelong Pawling resident and vocal cheerleader, Mike loved nothing more than making the rounds through town and talking about things that matter, then setting out to do something about them.
He served Pawling as 2 term town board member, 2 term board of education member, a proud Democratic Town Committee member, and remained a vocal member of the community and will continue to watch over town meetings on the shoulders of those who serve - so fair warning.
A patient man with a generous laugh and foul mouth, Mike was a diehard advocate for the little guy, always taking the time to listen. He quietly assisted friends and strangers; whether with a tank of gas, a ride to town, a warm meal, big bear hug, quick loan, or a place to sleep.
Mike's legacy is in the hundreds of people he anonymously helped along their way, never looking for recognition, but instead, for those folks to go forth and do great things for others.
His proudest moments were not broadcast to others, but shared directly with his children and grandchildren: "I'm just so g-damn proud of you kids. Really, just so GD proud."
Not saying I love you enough is not one of his regrets.
A big man with a big appetite, big brain and even bigger heart, Mike did not let cancer eat away at his character or soul. Surrounded by family in the town he loved to call home, Mike Mayer is hopefully now pushing 90 mph in a Porsche 356, no cops in sight, wind in his beard, laughing that big loud laugh for all to hear, if we only take the time to listen.
Mike's final requests were that his body be donated to science research because "kids are smart: they'll learn from all my broken parts and be able to fix this for others." In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be sent to The Pawling United Methodist Church, because of Mike's strong wish to "keep that money in Pawling."
Mike Mayer's final grades are officially in.
Friends are invited to celebrate a life well lived at Pawling United Methodist Church on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 11:00 am.
Published in Poughkeepsie Journal from Feb. 14 to Feb. 16, 2014.