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The World has Lost a Great . . .

Gaylan DuBose (1941-2018) Co-Author for Latin Alive

The world has lost a great ____. With these words Father Jerry opened the memorial service for Gaylan DuBose. This, he explained, was the title of his sermon, a title with an intentional empty space. A space that only Gaylan could fill, and fill in a different way for each one of us. Gaylan was an amazing man in so many respects. Each one who had the opportunity to know him was blessed by him. For some it was as “Dubie”, the amazing Latin or English teacher, who never failed to captivate a classroom and inspire the countless students who filled his classrooms for over fifty years. For others it was as the author of countless books on academic subjects, which inspired both students and teachers alike. For still others Gaylan is cherished as the faithful organist at St. Augustine’s Orthodox Church in Pflugerville, TX. Here he worshiped the Lord and blessed the body of Christ for many many years at mass, religious services, and innumerable quinceaneras. For more people than we will lever know he was the incarnation of Matthew 6

“Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.

Gaylan’s generosity knew no bounds, particularly to those he saw in need. As a career educator he did not have great wealth, but what he did have he constantly was giving to assist those around him. He gave not only money, but time, advice, action, prayer, and a genuine love for humanity. And in his giving and in his doing he was, as Father Jerry often likes to say, “indefatigable.”

So how does one fill in this blank to articulate what has been lost as Gaylan departs this temporal world for that eternal? Father Jerry prompted the family and friends today to modify this opening line to I have lost a great ____.  So I will answer this charge with whatever tribute I can give in what Gaylan DuBose has meant to me.

My first memory of Gaylan DuBose is as a Latin teacher at Westwood High School in Round Rock (Austin area). Gaylan along with Jo Green, Jane Nethercut, and my own Latin teacher Susan Fugate had years before established the National Junior Classical League in the Austin Area. I and thousands of other students benefited from their great passion and enthusiasm in bringing middle school and high school students together each year to enjoy classical competitions. I clearly remember watching Gaylan interact with his team, with other students, and other sponsors, and thinking to myself that there was a man to be admired. Little did I realize then how our paths would soon connect and where they would lead.

Inspired by my own Latin teacher, Susan Fugate, I pursued a Classics Degree at U.T. Austin with the goal of myself becoming a Latin teacher. The benefit of entering a student teaching program in your home town is that you know exactly who you wan to work with. I had been watching most of these teachers for years and I knew the area schools pretty well. I requested to work with both Susan and Gaylan, both were granted. Upon our first meeting, Gaylan immediately took me under his wing, adopted me as one of his own. He became a second mentor and then a friend. It was in those early years that Gaylan tasked me with volunteering at the JCL art competition. There I assisted the incomparable Franklin Brothers in judging the various works of art, advising on classical themes. This triumvirate were such a joy to work with each year. I learned so much from them on classics, art, and, of even greater value, the art of gentile chivalry. I still run the art contest at our Area JCL convention each year and often I quote them in advising our art judges. The event continues to be a highlight for me because of them.

Those early days would lead to a friendship of 25 + years filled with wisdom, admonition, wonderful teaching ideas, and always encouragement. When Chris Perrin asked that I write what would become the Latin Alive series, I knew I did not want to take on such a task alone. I immediately thought of my mentors and will be forever grateful to Gaylan for joining me in that adventure. I am grateful not only for the great work he contributed, which is of inestimable value, but even more I am grateful for the time with him. For many years we met at the same small orthodox church where I sat at this morning’s memorial service to work through texts together. I would bring my small children, who would play in the fellowship hall while we worked. Gaylan was never bothered by their company, but rather cherished the opportunity to watch them play, drink in their laughter, and delight in the little stories they wanted to share with him. He adopted them as he adopted me so many years before as part of his extended “family” to the extent that after our first book was published Gaylan insisted that I take his royalties for the LAI teacher’s edition along with mine to establish their college fund. The gift of friendship Gaylan had given me, became an inheritance of friendship for my own children.

As the kids grew older and their visits grew less, Gaylan and I reconvened our meetings to the Starbucks in Pflugerville to continue our work on the series, a project that would require more than 8 years to complete. Here I sit now writing this tribute. After leaving the church where we worked together over so many years this coffee shop was the only place I could go. It just felt right. I started to work on my next book, one whose manuscript I had eagerly looked forward to sharing with Gaylan this month. Instead, my thoughts just filled with memories of Gaylan mingled with Father Jerry’s words, “I have lost a great  . . .”

I have lost a great mentor, a writing partner, a friend. And yet, the faith we shared tells me that one day I will see Gaylan again. That hope brings joy in the midst of sorrow. That joy compels my thoughts to drift away from what I have lost to what I, in knowing Gaylan, have gained.

In Gaylan I gained a magnificent mentor, whose creative teaching and penchant for correct grammar lives on in my classroom. I gained a writing partner, who continued to teach me even as we began teaching others. I often feel as though I went through a graduate program 1-1 with the most incredible professor; what greater gift could exist for a life-long learner? Above all I gained a friend, a man who I will forever admire and respect, whose kindness and generosity knew no bounds. This man took the time to call me friend, encourage me, invest in me, and to pour into me and even through me into my own children and my school kids.

Today, I remember the great Gaylan that I gained and the blessing that his life continues to be to mine.

AVE ATQUE VALE, PATER

REQUIESCE IN PACE

magno cum amore,

Karen

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