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A guy named EGAY

Have you ever met anybody outside your family who has touched and greatly impacted you in ways you would never imagine?

We encounter many types of people as we live our individual lives. Some are called: charismatic, coach/teacher or mentor, visionary, goal-setter or pacesetter, commander, doer, micro-manager, planner, bold, introvert, talker, consensus-builder, experienced, scholar, emphatic types. On the negative side, some are called manipulators, scheming, dictator, insensitive, directionless, easy-going types.

What matters is who among them may have exerted a profound influence on us or may leave an indelible mark in our memory that we shed a tear in remembering.

Here was a guy named Egay. A school executive who rose from the ranks, Egay had a Ph.D. in Mathematics, which he used to analyze day-to-day problems in his workplace and at home. Numbers and adherence to compliance were his forte and specialization. A friendly, approachable, hardworking, smiling 24/7 guy everyone would love to see every morning at work. It seemed he never faltered. Everything is fine, and every problem has a solution. He would be a favorite appointee of any CEO or president in any company he would choose to work for.

Egay was a dedicated, humble, and loyal soldier. Since he first set foot on the campus of Mariners as a faculty member, he had never left for any other workplace. His loyalty was beyond compare. He had been with the institution for 30 years without interruption or disruption. He did not take long, winding vacations or leaves of absence except for contingency reasons. As a result, he gained the experience, expertise, and trust of everyone at every job he handled.

He told his wife, “Mariners is my family too,” why he stayed on and did not desire to seek other jobs outside. However, he did not buckle down from pressure when beset with multiple problems, including his own. Instead, he would stay up until morning to finish a task. Egay believed that completing his part contributed to the success of the whole. Egay was a doer, an action man, a listener, and a most approachable guy with his feet flat on the ground in his slim 5’3” frame.

He had dabbled in almost all kinds of work at Mariners in research, extension services, administrative and quality management. As a research director, his papers were about numbers and calculations to solve problems. He showed particular interest in raising students’ learning capacity and inspiring excellent academic performance. As issue editor of UKTAW, Mariner’s yearly research journal, he published a paper on maritime students’ educational and psychological behaviors to help set the framework for the institutional guidance services of the school. The student affairs services office holds a special place in his heart. He believed maritime students’ psychosocial and academic behaviors during their stay in school are invariably related and should be given special attention in its services. He focused on the significance of social interaction and connection.

The younger generation of school executives saw Egay as a guiding light. Daks called him a “savior” who was always accessible and approachable during “times of need,” like school audits and accreditation. Joe called him “my math tutor in high school, mentor in college, and my first boss on my first full-time job”. Eric called him “my adviser” in his MA thesis on clean water and solid waste management, with Egay’s unfailing support in finding the appropriate mathematical formula for his study. He did not accept a single payment for all these mentoring efforts. A volunteer exemplar! He was among the first to acknowledge and congratulate Tabang Bikol Movement for its successful projects and programs, an original volunteer.

One kind gesture of Egay that remains etched in the mind of Utility lady Leslie was when she was carrying a large garbage pile that accidentally spilled all over a corner near the Café. From behind her, Egay appeared and helped her pick up the spill and carried the bundle to the larger bin. For Pat, Cely, Jefferson, and many others, he was the most approachable and sensitive person who never allowed “waiting” in line for his signature. For the new Social Enterprise Development office staff, he was the constant “checker” who ensured every administrative request. Armie laughed at how disagreements would be over in a day or two because Egay would be the first to find a principled resolution.

This guy Egay loved the healthy food with JaimEliza at Mariners Café but would miss it for the sake of finishing his tasks first. He loved coffee to perk up but rested or napped in other offices whenever possible. He was a reliable resource person, always available when needed. “Madaling tawagan!” He shared me tips on how to use numbers to know if your company is succeeding. For example, if you generate P80,000 worth of goods or services with 1,500 labor hours, divide them equal 53, which means you generate P53 per hour of work! What motivating advice!

For Tess, Egay has always been the same since they married 27 years ago: humble, gentle, loving and a workaholic. Egay is Dr. Edgar Perdon Despi, 55, a church pastor and Vice President for Academic Affairs of Mariners Canaman. Unfortunately, he died from a heart attack yesterday, May 23, which left his wife, two daughters and the whole Mariners community in shock and grief. This guy called Egay is so well-loved and will be dearly missed for a long time.


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