It has become an all too frequent headline of late: Midland loses another person of character. Sadly it happened again with the September 11 passing of David Mims, a man of the highest sort of integrity. A kind of man of which we have not nearly enough.
David was simply one of those people whose faith was evident in his walk. The words of St. Francis are immediately applicable: "Preach the gospel. Use words if necessary." Just by looking at and observing David from across a room, it was easy to tell he was a man at peace with his life, happy and content with his faith and love of Jesus Christ. It showed.
I remember once a few years ago, David called me with some concerns over something I had written in the newspaper. He and others didn’t care for an opinion I had shared. We had a conversation about the piece. It was the most civil ‘disagreement’ (it can hardly be called that) that I had ever been a part of. By the time our talk was over, David had been so kindly persuasive that he had me seeing his point of view. It remains, as I recall, the only time I have ever felt better about someone who had called to take exception with something I had written.
But that’s the kind of man David was.
Although I didn't know him as well as I would have liked, it would be a safe assumption, I think, that David never held a grudge. And so I was fortunate enough to be able to chat with him again this year, in between bouts with the stomach cancer that eventually took him last week. He spoke with me openly for the "History of Character" book and recalled stories of riding his bike all over town and always feeling safe when he was young, a story not unlike many others recounted by others who grew up here.
David is mostly a lifelong Midlander, save for college and a brief hitch in Houston, and moreover is one of those people who give away more than they keep, and his beloved Midland is the beneficiary of his kindnesses.
“From my earliest memories, my parents were involved in the community,” David told me earlier this year. “Dad was on the city council, mom was on the PTA. They were very active. Their friends, all the people they ran with, all had the same lifestyle.
“Becky, my wife, and I came here in 1977 and by the summer of 1978, dad had volunteered me for a new board to form a county-sponsored child care center, which was ultimately built in Taylor Park.”
David noted that organizers had originally contacted his dad, James, to be on that committee, but dad deferred to son on this one. It was serve as a sort of a kick-start to what would become a lifetime of generosity to Midland.
David attended Texas A&M and met his wife, Becky, at Auburn University grad school. A long-tome Rotarian, David was also a volunteer with the Chamber of Commerce, First Baptist Church, United Way and Midland Development Corporation. Doubtless there are many other organizations to which he gave time, effort and talents.
Above all, I will always remember David for his quiet, gentle spirit. Quick with a smile and a handshake, he was one of those rare individuals that left you simply feeling better about the world after time spent with him. And, anyone able to make you feel good about something you had done that had caused him concern … that, especially, is a rare individual indeed.