Don Mayfield passed away on Saturday.
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Don Mayfield: Veggie patch owner peppered others with kindness
08:07 AM CDT on Tuesday, July 18, 2006
By KARIN SHAW ANDERSON / The Dallas Morning News
Dry dirt and withered peppers and tomatoes may be the last of the garden planted at the well-traveled intersection of Tripp and Collins roads in Sunnyvale.
For Don Mayfield, his garden at Tripp and Collins roads in Sunnyvale was his church. For years, Don Mayfield tended the vegetable patch, which was a draw as much for the tidbits of gossip and wisdom passed along as for the fresh organic produce.
Mr. Mayfield died at his home Saturday.
"Nothing else has been planted there, and nothing else probably will be," said his cousin Ed Stiager of Forney.
The drought took the garden, he said, and cancer took Mr. Mayfield.
The 68-year-old was told in late May that cancer had spread throughout his abdomen, his wife, Phyllis Mayfield, said in June. Instead of seeking treatment, Mr. Mayfield chose to remain near his garden under the shade of his sugar pear.
"We called it our church out there under his tree," Mr. Stiager said.
There, the ponytailed Mr. Mayfield counseled strangers and friends alike, his cousin said.
"Don helped me through my darkest hours," Mr. Stiager said. "He helped me through some hard times and put my eyes toward God."
Mr. Mayfield, whom Mr. Stiager described as his best friend, professed to find Christ in the natural elements on his corner lot.
"He was a devout Christian," Mr. Stiager said. "His calling in life was for others.
"He was always satisfied with what he had, and he was not a rich man."
Visitors to the vegetable patch on Monday still found the Folgers can where Mr. Mayfield collected $2 per bundle of vegetables on the honor system.
His rusty metal chair rested empty in the shade, and a wreath decorated with sunflowers was tacked to the edge of the wooden display table.
"I just felt that we ought to leave it there," Mr. Stiager said.
Services for Mr. Mayfield have been set for 10 a.m. Wednesday at New Hope Funeral Home Chapel, 500 E. U.S. Highway 80 in Sunnyvale.
In addition to his cousin and wife, Mr. Mayfield is survived by a son, Donnie Wayne Mayfield of Farmers Branch; two daughters, Vickie Reedy of Knoxville, Tenn., and Keli Mayfield of Austin; two sisters, Alba Sue Miller of Mesquite and Ruth Ehrenberger of Dallas; four grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
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