Shannon Mayfield died at his home in Athens, Georgia on Dec. 29 after a valiant eight-year battle with multiple myeloma. He was 51 years old.
A native of Ellijay, Georgia, Shannon graduated from the University of Georgia with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and Juris Doctorate from the School of Law. Shannon’s desire to help others drew him towards politics at an early age, and upon graduation he joined the staff of former Lt. Governor Pierre Howard, quickly rising to chief of staff. Shannon managed numerous political campaigns, including the election of Lewis Massey to Georgia Secretary of State.
After Shannon retired from politics, he engaged in many successful real estate ventures as a developer and land speculator. He worked for the Georgia Conservancy, creating their land conservation program and then pivoted to the private sector to protect thousands of acres of environmentally sensitive land in the Southeast from future development.
In 2013, Shannon fulfilled a longtime goal of studying theology and enrolled in the Emory University Candler School of Theology and began a path towards ministry, graduating in 2017. From 2018 to 2020, he served as pastor of the Corvallis United Methodist Church in the Bitterroot Valley of his beloved Montana. He was an immensely talented orator, able to bring his real-world experiences to the pulpit and relate them to scripture in a way that few others have. He truly believed that Jesus led his followers to care for one another and those less fortunate. He lived this truth every day.
Throughout his entire life, Shannon followed Christ’s teachings and fiercely fought for justice for the poor, weak and marginalized each and every day through acts large and small. He donated his time, love and money to provide hope for so many in need. He created college scholarships for undocumented students seeking a better life and for theology students from diverse backgrounds to unite to solve problems facing the world today. He had the gift of attentiveness to those in his community, identifying and helping those in need often before they even knew how to ask for help. Shannon’s life was the personification of love thy neighbor and the impact he had on countless people all over the country cannot be overstated.
Shannon was the loving husband of 22 years to his best friend, Kristy, and father to their two children, Katy and Henry. He was so immensely proud of his children and was determined to see them into adulthood when he was diagnosed with cancer in 2012. He fulfilled that wish: Katy is a junior at Emory University and Henry will enroll at the Culinary Institute of America in 2021.
The Mayfields spent each summer at their cabin in the majestic Stillwater Valley near Nye, Montana. Shannon took every opportunity to commune with God’s creation and enjoyed fly fishing, upland bird hunting and hiking. He spent countless days on the river with his son and his closest friends. Shannon was an accomplished cook and loved to gather friends new and old together around his table. He had an affinity for traveling, especially to Italy and Patagonia. He was an avid fan of the Atlanta Falcons, regardless of how well they performed.
Shannon will be missed by so many and his generous spirit will live on in those who benefitted from knowing and being loved by him. In addition to his immediate family, Shannon is survived by his parents, Johnny and Hilda Mayfield, his brother, Gabriel Mayfield (Vanessa Toro), and numerous aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins and in-laws. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the following organizations:
U-Lead Athens - www.uleadathens.org/donate
Candler School of Theology Confluence Scholarship - www.candler.emory.edu/give (please note that your gift is made in Shannon’s memory)
Due to COVID-19, details of a memorial service will be announced at a later date.
Bernstein Funeral Home is in charge of funeral arrangements.