It is with great sadness that I share the news of the passing of a great man. Dr. McCay Vernon is remembered as an amazing thinker, author, mentor, leader, advocate, colleague; and as a kind and gentle spirit.
Notwithstanding six decades of separation, our relationship was valuable beyond words, signs and measure. Having his support and guidance meant the world to me. He modeled for us all, how to build coalitions that seamlessly transcend generational “divides”–encouraging, connecting, affirming and supporting those who come behind us. These relationships provide invaluable guidance, vision, inspiration & hope to “the future,” and provide our elders with an important outlet in which to share their wisdom and knowledge (& amazing stories).
I will always cherish the man who stood dutifully by his typed and hand-written letters sent via traditional mail; cherished the Deaf & Signing Community; never stopped searching for knowledge; and left easily discernable footprints in the sand so we could pick up where he left off. One of my favorite letters that the Mac sent was an August 2011 response to my request for him to join the Board of HEARD. It stated, in part: “As I am 82 years of age, there may be some limitations on my capacity to serve, but I look forward to the opportunity to do so.” May we all be as driven, selfless, and compassionate as him.
He was a National Treasure & our Community’s Heartbeat. I am grateful to have been touched by his presence and to have inherited a world that was made better because it was gaced by the same. Thank you for your leadership, your knowledge, your encouragement, your letters, your service, your example.