MICHAEL D. MAYO, "Mike", age 74. of Fair Lawn NJ and formerly of Clifton, NJ passed on March 8, 2021.
Michael was born in Tuxedo New York and lived in Sloatsburg, NY before settling in Sunbury, Pennsylvania for a period of time. He retired from the Passaic Public School District in 2004 where he served as a professional painter for 28 years.
Michael was the seventh child of the late Lawrence and Teresa Mayo (nee Sullivan). Teresa, unknowingly pregnant with natural triplets, suffered a miscarriage 3 months into her pregnancy. Doctors told her she was no longer pregnant. However, at 28 weeks on May 8, 1946, she gave birth to two boys, Richard Thomas and Michael Daniel. Babies born prematurely at this time were not expected to survive and if they did, they were labeled as weaklings. Respiratory challenges were also associated with premature infants. The use of incubators and oxygen treatments was becoming popular. Richard and Michael received treatment. Richard died on May 11, 1946. Michael survived. However, weighing less than 3lbs, it was not without incident. The unregulated use of oxygen during that time left some children with physical (blindness) and/or other challenges. Michael was unable to read. Teresa found a tutoress who quickly fell in love with helping Michael through his early education. He eventually enrolled in barbering college and learned a skill to prepare him for life. It was his time as a barber where he met his soon to be wife, Doris (a beautician). They went on to have two children. Lisa Jane and Eric Michael.
In addition to working as a barber, Michael began freelancing as a painter/decorator. His reputation of being meticulous made him sought after by many private clients. Looking to further his career as a painter, he began working for the Passaic School District, Passaic, NJ. He eventually left barbering and dedicated the remainder of his career to the Passaic Board of Education. He retired in 2004 after 28 years of highly respected service. After retirement, Michael bought a beautiful home in Melbourne, Florida, near his sister Kathleen, where he developed many hobbies including a love of decorating, photography and computers.
In 2018, Michael became sick with stage 4 COPD. He returned to NJ to be near his daughter, Lisa, who found Dr. Jason Shatkin, a highly qualified pulmonologist. Dr. Shatkins dedication and compassion gave Michael and his family an additional 2 ½ years together.
Over the years, Michael faced many difficult challenges, including losing his beloved son, Eric, in May of 2017 but his faith and testimony in God was unwavering. He practiced and inspired others to live One Day at a Time. All throughout his life, he spoke openly and candidly about his learning challenges and the stigma he faced growing up unable to read. However, he never once felt sorry for himself. His daughter and family describe him as having a strong work ethic, an innate ability to know and understand others, and an inner drive to keep learning and growing all throughout his life. His sister describes the power of his mind as one of lifes miracles, while his daughter considers his entire life a miracle and her father, her greatest hero.
Michael is predeceased by his beloved son, Eric, his brothers, Richard, William, Thomas, Lawrence, and John, as well as his sister, Arlene.
Michael is survived by his daughter Lisa, three grandchildren Corey, Nicholas, and Celeste, two sisters, Barbara and Kathleen, nieces, nephews, and former spouse, Dottie.
Private funeral arrangements from Kugler Community Home For Funerals, Saddle Brook NJ. In lieu of flowers, Lisa is asking donations be made to The Valley Hospital NICU in an effort to help premature babies accomplish all the great things he did in life.