While some knew him as Jonah and others as Mac, we all loved and respected him. And we miss him dearly.

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Cliff Mays (Jonah’s Guitar Journey – Part Three)

From age 15 (9th grade) until his high school graduation, Jonah had the joy and privilege of studying guitar with Cliff Mays. I don’t remember much since that hour each week was theirs and their alone. But I do remember that Jonah always looked forward to his lessons and only canceled when other plans forced him to do so. Cliff was a knowledgeable, steady and kind mentor for Jonah, another member of this remarkable group of adults who helped make Jonah’s short life an incredibly full and satisfying one.


Cliff MaysAs Jonah’s private guitar teacher, I had the privilege of meeting with Jonah once a week over the course of several years. During that time, we talked mostly about music while we explored the history and future of the guitar. We also listened to a lot of music. Lots of different kinds of music. J-mac had a voracious curiosity about different kinds of music.

He was the student teachers like me dream of. I showed up and most days he greeted me at the door knowing what he wanted to work on. Jonah had ideas he was waiting to discuss with me so we could make light of them through the guitar. And I think that phraseology speaks loudly for J-Mac’s spirit. He was light, a light giver.

There was a kindness and an unspoken compassion within his personality that was very bright. A calmness, stillness with the music. Here we met and it was always comfortable, and our studies were fruitful and fun. From AC/DC to the latest singer-songwriter, Jonah matched his curiosity with a great dedication to mastering his instruments.

Of course, we also shared a fondness for Peanut Chews, a treat I will always associate with my friend Jonah. I know he is missed by many, rightfully so.

God bless,
Cliff Mays

Soon after Jonah died, Cliff wrote an extraordinary song in Jonah’s memory. It’s called “Jonah Mac.” You can listen to it here, a beautiful, touching piece of music with exquisite, moving lyrics.

Questions I know, they won’t go away
The answers so deep down inside
When love is that strong, it won’t bend or break
My heart won’t be fooled that way

I hear your voice on the wind
I hear you laughing again
I feel you in the rain
Like it’s never gonna change
I know that time will creep by
Another day another heavy sigh
Now I know that even God must cry
When an angel takes flight

Simple things now, they trigger my thoughts
They’re racing around nowhere to go
And I know that time, it won’t leave us alone
There’s nowhere to hide, not even home

Jonah touched so many lives with his irrepressible energy, humor, curiosity and goodness. Our family lovingly appreciates every word, every note, written in gratitude for having joined with Jonah for a bit of his journey.



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