I grew up in Oregon where I saw few African- Americans in positions of influence or authority. Everywhere I looked things were pretty lily white. In fact, our family could actually go days--sometimes weeks without seeing other people of color (outside of our African-American church).
However, when I arrived at Spencer Butte Middle School I encountered my first brown teacher, Mrs. Judy Wade. I received a phone call this month informing me that she had died. In all honesty, I almost went on as if nothing had happened but then I heard in my heart “Stop. Take the time and reflect. Mrs. Wade deserves that.”
I’m so glad I did because Mrs. Wade was more than a teacher. While running the halls of Spencer Butte, she looked out for my sister and I. She was like a second mother--checking in on us and making sure we were doing good in all of our classes.
Even after I moved on to high school and college she remained a cheerleader in my life. In fact, twelve years ago when I had my first daughter, Mrs. Wade took the time to knit the most beautiful white blanket for her crib. Sent all the way to North Carolina, her labor of love was truly touching.
I didn't get to say goodbye but I will never forget the mark she made in my life. Mrs. Wade was a special woman and her life will be missed.
Click here for her obituary: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/registerguard/obituary.aspx?pid=179891022