Daigle, Sr., Jay Vernon


His smiles, broad and generous, were his trademark. It conveyed the message that all was well (or soon would be). He LIVED the optimism he taught. This level-headed, capable man moved about his congregations always reaching out to people. He was definitely a “people person.”
An asset to his ministry was his sales ability and experience, having been a successful sales manager in New Orleans, LA. This round-faced, happy man with a rare sense of humor, inched his way into hearts. He possessed such a great capacity of love, genuine and deep. Sickness and grief were his specialty, and he was there weeping with those who wept.
There was absolutely no pretense with Jay Daigle – “You got what you saw.” He stood up firmly for what he believed to be right. Most outstanding was the simple presentation of himself to everyone as a human, with desires and weaknesses, a human full of compassion. Need we wonder why he remained pastor until his death, a period of nearly eighteen years at Faithful, and thirteen years at New River? Brother Jay’s bout with cancer brought about much soul-searching. He paused during a sermon, and with a brave smile, said “I thank God for my cancer! Yes, I thank Him, because of the cancer I am nearer to God.” He had nestled up closer to the Good Shepherd. He had experienced the green pastures and still waters while in the pain and misery of chemotherapy.
On one Sunday in the month of September, the program listed these hymns: “He Arose”, “Christ the Lord is Risen”, and “He Lives.” It was unmistakably September, not April! His rich and strong voice could be heard as he sang out triumphantly. This was followed by a real Easter sermon. Later, when questioned why, his eyes watered as he replied, “I’ve been resurrected!”
Weeks later over coffee, he reminisced about his and Muriels’ youthful days. “Yes, it had to be Muriel, the pretty girl in the choir. Because of her I left the Catholic Church to become a member of the United Methodist Church.” Our group of young people had so many good times,” He told of a couple, Mom and Pop Freibert, who prepared food each Sunday for the entire group. “We walked and rode the street cars of old New Orleans,” he continued. He then told of kneeling at the altar in answer to the call of God to the ministry.
The following is a quote from one of his last sermons: “Death is not extinguishing the light. It is only putting out the lamp because the dawn has come.” (Tagore)
We love you Brother Jay. We will so live our lives that we will be worthy of being with you one day where your radiant smiles are.
Source: Journal Louisiana Conference 1994, p. 249 By Mrs. Jessie B. Thompson

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