A Few Words On Diana, Our Beloved Friend

by on January 30, 2012 · 16 comments

in From the Soul, Life Events

Diana Gail Shipley

(Note from Ernie: This was written in memory of Diana Gail Shipley, a dear friend and educator who was an inspiration to many people throughout San Diego. She lost a courageous battle with pancreatic cancer on January 5, 2012. I submit it here so that readers could just get an inkling of what a remarkable human being she was.)

When Diana arrived in heaven,
I can imagine the Almighty looking at her going:
Hm, hm, hm.
My Sister, my Sister, my Sister.
I know how you battled what ailed you
so I forgive you for arriving CP time
but I just want to tell you
that I’m so glad to greet you
because you were just what I had in mind
when I came up with this whole idea of Humankind.”
I mean wasn’t someone like Diana what a Creator must have wished for among His creations, someone:
And as we reminisce and pine
we have to keep in mind
that the essence of our Diana
will maintain a presence in our lives
like a gentle breeze,
like a stream flowing
at ease,
like the lingering
sweet bouquet of a vintage wine,
blessed by all she gave to us
so much of the time,
all the time,
every time.
The real deal
as they say,
never leaving us to wonder what was on her mind.
If you shucked and jived with Diana
you’d find yourself in a bind,
left behind,
talking to yourself
cuz she was off to get somebody else
to do what had to be done.
She, as you know,
was always about “What Had to Be Done!”
One of the greatest doers
under the sun.
Oh, what a beautiful one.
So much love inside.
Just adored her family,
always speaking of them with pride,
doted on them,
encouraged them,
sold flowers with them,
referred to them:
“Wayne said if those clowns knew what they were doing
the district wouldn’t be out of all that money. Wayne knows his money,”

She was a honey,
a leader beyond compare.
Respected everywhere.
Held pretty near every office in the AKA,
in her never wavering commitment
to the sorority’s pursuit of human rights,
its development of young leaders
who inherit our fight
encouraging them to be
physically and emotionally strong
to be able to stay the course
of the evergoing ongoing
struggle to right wrongs.
Rolemodeled activism
for us
to a high degree:
board member of the Association of African American Educators,
a trainer,
a sought after school consultant,
a National Alliance of Black School Educators’
Community Service Award Recipient.
She’s heaven sent,
mentor to African American vice-principals
and principals so they could have the tools
to do what Had to be Done for
the children in San Diego City Schools.
She engaged all the players
in her school communities
in tending to their children’s needs.
Children were at Diana’s very core.
Who has done more
to make a better world
for boys and girls?
And that more than anything
is my personal connection to this incredible human being.
I, like her, live and breathe
to be of service
to the young ones,
the innocent ones,
the future,
the hope
if there is such a thing.
And some times my approach,
my “radical outspoken-ness”
I once heard it described,
can make me feel alone
but a conversation
with Diana,
Ya’ll know what the conversation is like with Diana,
where you know that you’re being heard,
(she was a master at listening)
and understood,
(she was one of the brightest people I’ve ever known)
and supported
and loved.
She loved like some people
breathe air
and all she asked in return
was sincerity,
no jive –
Oh, to have a friend
who can revive you
and have you
Doing the Do,
Doing the Do,
energy up
and back to what you were meant to do:
good things.
It’s a fact
that she would keep
you on track.

There’s no honor I’ve ever received
that means more to me
than Diana asking me
to lend my love of writing
to the Rainbow Writers Program
she brought to life
at Johnson Elementary.
That was as much fun
for me
as should be allowed legitimately,
watching those children
go into themselves
and come out with words
that helped them
take their place among humanity.
What a gift
to the Emerald Hills Community.
But the honor for me today
is that Diana Gail Shipley
wanted me to be part of this gathering
in her name here today.
I’ll feel the love in that
until the end of my days.
We’ll all feel Diana’s love
down the way
for such love as hers
won’t evaporate away
as, in her special way,
she’ll smile down on us from heaven
with all the love we’ll ever need
if no one else sends love our way.
We’re so blessed to have
known her
and in these moments
we can only say:
Hmm, hmm, hmm.
Our Sister, our Sister, our Sister.
What a gift you have been
as we truly believe
that you were what God
had in mind
when He came up with this whole idea of Humankind.
You have been one of a kind.”

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Soror Jean A Colston January 30, 2012 at 1:47 pm

Beautiful piece for a wonderful person.


Ernie McCray January 30, 2012 at 11:36 pm

She truly was something else.


judi Curry January 31, 2012 at 7:49 am

I met Diana only one time at an educational meeting. I thought then – as I do now – that I wished I could get to know her better. Even in that one meeting she was a shining star.
And Ernie, when it is my time to go, I hope that there is someone as eloquent as you to write my eulogy.


Ernie McCray January 31, 2012 at 1:44 pm

And I hope that eulogy won’t have to be written anywhere near soon.


judi Curry January 31, 2012 at 1:47 pm

Amen Bro.


Carrie Peery February 1, 2012 at 1:29 pm

This is such a beautiful testamony of Diana’s life in San Diego. When you read it at the service it came alife as only you can do. Thanks for being there for her and so many others.Love to you and your family.
Carrie Peery


Ernie McCray February 1, 2012 at 2:18 pm

And much love to you and yours, my dear friend.


Terrie Leigh Relf February 1, 2012 at 10:30 pm

This is a beautiful eulogy, Ernie!

I first met Diana when she was the principal at my son’s school. Then, years later, I met her again and would talk to her at various functions.

I wish I had known her better, but I remember her fondly.



Ernie McCray February 1, 2012 at 10:48 pm

Thank you, Terrie. It’s hard to remember Diana any other way than fondly.


Yvette Porter Moore February 7, 2012 at 10:45 pm

I really appreciate this beautiful and heart felt poem you honored her with. She was such a wonderful person, and she will be deeply missed.


Ernie McCray February 7, 2012 at 11:12 pm

Yes she will be.


Lynne Shipley January 29, 2014 at 10:04 am

Mr. McCray, even after two years your poem bring tears to my eyes. I miss my mother deeply, but prayers and thoughts from her dear friends help keep her legacy alive. Thank you for your beautiful words. Lynne Shipley, Her Loving Daughter


Ernie McCray January 29, 2014 at 2:08 pm

She will live in a lot of hearts for a very long time.


Yvette Porter Moore January 29, 2014 at 4:11 pm

I can’t believe it has been two years. Lynne, my heart goes out to you and I so appreciate this poem It is beautiful. Thank you Ernie. May she always be remembered.


Ernie McCray January 29, 2014 at 7:45 pm

She will be.


Lynne Shipley November 22, 2018 at 8:55 pm

Happy Thanksgiving, Mom. Miss you!


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