Whether teaching the ins and outs and ins again of the Revelation of John, sharing a meal in the Pit with Dr. Frank’s Spirituality of Architecture class, or challenging me to build a scale model of Wait Chapel out of cake, Dean O’Day imbued every action and word with meaning, compassion, and grace. Her leadership of Wake Div during my time there had an enormous impact on my personal approach to ministry, and I am grateful for every moment in and out of class that I got to spend learning from her. Thanks to her, I will spend each day in ministry challenging those around me to say “yes” when the world is saying “no”.
My love goes to the family of this extraordinary woman. I was blessed to work with Dr. O’Day when I served on the Wake Forest University Board of Visitors.
Gail and I became friends in college. Our friendship later expanded to include Tom and my husband, Lance. We had wonderful, fun, relaxing, invigorating times together in Providence, Atlanta, Oregon, North Carolina, Massachusetts, and, of course, Sugar Hill! Gail, we miss you so much. You made a real difference! We love you.
Our hearts go out to Tom Frank and all the family. Gail embraced and embodied Pro Humanitate. Her ecumenical leadership was also a transcendent inclusive leadership.
My time at Wake Forest School of Divinity under Dean O’Day’s leadership shaped who I am as a person; I am deeply grateful for her vision and wisdom. Every session of my Gospel of John class with Dr. O’Day expanded my consciousness about what scripture can say and do and be. I was so excited about her class, I even asked Dean O’Day if I could bring my mother to class one day — and of course, she welcomed her. My mother took thorough notes.
In her poem “When Death Comes”, Mary Oliver writes “I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world”. My goodness, Dean O’Day — you did not simply visit this world. You blazed mountain trails left and right.
I believe because I saw and felt that Gail appreciated and respected everyone she met, she combined energy with compassion I hope I have learned from those attributes, I will always remember her. My prayers to her family and all of us impacted by this loss.
Extending prayed and condolences to the family, friends, and loved ones of Dean O’Day. I’ll always remember her kindness, passion, presence, and stewardship which extends beyond her titles as it truly is her calling.
Continued thanks, prayers, and encouragement to all.
Giving thanks today for a life fully lived and a teacher, leader and fellow servant of the Lord deeply loved. I was blessed to study under both Gail and Tom while a student at Candler School of Theology and rejoiced as they joined us here in North Carolina. We as the Church and as church leaders are richer in our giving of ourselves for the many ways she gave of herself as broken bread and poured out wine.
I did not study under her. I did not work with her. I simply knew her. She “saved” our family in more ways than one by hiring my husband, Dr. Derek Hicks, as a post-doc and then pushing to hire him as a tenure-track professor. I saw her as an angel BEFORE she became “an angel” and will always be grateful for the opportunity she presented back in 2011 and the opportunities she bestowed ever since. Our hearts and prayers go out to Tom and Family as we will miss this partner, family member, colleague, and friend.
I was blessed to study under both Gail and Tom while at Candler (Emory) in the 90’s, and graced to see them again as a part of the Wake Forest community. Her contributions of leadership and scholarship will be missed, no doubt, but she has certainly made an impactful mark. Grace & peace in Christ.
My prayers will be with the family of Dr. O’ Day and the Wake Forest University Divinity School family of which I am fortunate to be part. I never meet Dr. O’ Day but I have heard several wonderful things about her. May her soul rest in the bosom of her Lord.
Simon Osunlana. Class of 2003
Blessed to have studied under both her and Tom at Candler (Emory) in the early 90’s, and graced to see them again as part of the Wake Forest community. Her contributions of leadership and scholarship will, no doubt, be missed!
How we will all miss her! We knew that Gail was special when we met her and Tom at her first Wake Forest University Summer Conference at the Grove Park Inn. We were privileged to get to know her better during later visits in Winston-Salem and Raleigh. She and Bob enjoyed sharing jokes, especially religious ones. Her presence will surely be missed at the Divinity School and by all who knew her through the school
I was a teaching assistant for her at Emory, and her devotion and skill at the art of teaching was an inspiration that continues to enrich my life. Gone too soon.
Dr. O’Day arrived shortly after my graduation in 2009. I did not know her, but felt like Wake Div would thrive under her leadership. I offer my sincere sympathy to her family, and to Wake Forest School of Divinity.
I first met Gail as a member of the search committee for a new dean at WFDS. She was clearly head and shoulders above the other finalists in her ability to mesh her strengths and experience with a realistic vision of where the solid foundation the div school already had could go. It was a joy to watch her implement that vision and leave a lasting vital contribution to the school and students.
I met Dr. O’Day through the Clergy Making a Place program at WFU Divinity with Dr. Veronice Miles and Hilary Floyd. She was a lovely person, hospitable to everyone, and a fine teacher and dean. May she rest in peace and rise in glory. Well done, good and faithful servant.
Remembering Gail’s vital role in the 2011 Symposium on Bach’s “Passion according to St. John.” “Ruht wohl, ihr heiligen Gebeine!”
What a privilege to have studied under her at Candler, and learned so much from her…and not just theology, but life lessons. Her wit, wisdom, grace, and joy in learning were an inspiration for me and so many others. May flights of angels wing thee to thy rest.