Thursday, January 28, 2010

David Mallery

I can’t remember where I read recently about something called Dunbar’s number, 150, which according to Wikipedia “is a theoretical cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships.”  Mr. Dunbar never met David Mallery.  Long before e-mail or Facebook, David somehow stayed in touch with the thousands of people he taught, mentored and influenced in his wonderful life.  Letters, cards, phone calls.  I’d call spontaneously and be greeted with, “Bill Williams, you fine fellow, how are you?  I still see you up in that tree at Westtown.”  Westtown was an annual seminar conducted by David for teachers.  Not just any teachers, but the “Aces”, as he called them.  It was an annual weeklong celebration of teachers and teaching that David hosted and led for over forty years.  I was high up in that tree well over twenty years ago as part of an activity, and that was one of David’s ways of remembering me.  Westtown was only a week in this man's busy year, busy life. Yes, one can, and should go to his Facebook page now to see some of the tributes about him, but David’s network was created and largely maintained the old-fashioned way, making it all the more remarkable for the care and concern he gave and the joy he spread so remarkably.  

David was ever available, ever gracious, ever wise.  A beacon at times of stress in my career, a celebrant at times of success.  The ripples from his good work will spread infinitely. A sorrow to lose and a joy to remember.

For more about David, go to:

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