David Mayhall

My maternal grandfather David Norris Mayhall (that’s “Grandaddy Mayhall” to me) came from a middle class family in Liberty, Mississippi. Though they suffered a lot of loss just after the Great Depression, this background allowed him to focus on education as a goal. But like many his age, he went straight from high school into the military for World War II. Through a variety of circumstances, he ended up in the ambulance corps of the British Army in Burma, and it was during this time that he found his call to serve as a missionary overseas. Upon his return from the war, he entered Mississippi College and completed seminary (marrying along the way) before heading off with my grandmother for a lifetime of work in Nigeria. He would teach in the seminary and preach and help build up the local church there while at the same time building and growing his own family as well.  His is a story that has carried through to influence my life and interests—from his love of history which kept the household full of National Geographics and archaeology magazines that had a big impact on my interests to his commitment to the life of rural villagers and day-to-day help with their needs that obviously echoes in my life choices in work with refugees. He passed away in 2013, just a few months after my grandmother, but we have many pictures, videos, and memories of him that continue to impact our lives.

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