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Susan B.
Republican IN 5

About Rep. Susan
  • Honoring the Extraordinary Life of William `Bill’ Mays

    by Representative Susan W. Brooks

    Posted on 2015-01-27

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    BROOKS of indiana in the house of representatives Tuesday, January 27, 2015 Mrs. BROOKS of Indiana. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor the life of a beloved member of the Indianapolis community, Bill Mays. Sadly he unexpectedly passed away on December 4, 2014, his 69th birthday. Bill was a businessman, a family man, a leader of the community, and a philanthropist. He built an economic dream in his business and used his fortune to help others. His dedication to the Hoosier community will forever be remembered.

    A lifelong Hoosier, Bill was born in Evansville on December 4, 1945. He graduated as the number one male academically from Evansville Central High School, where he was also a member of the football team. He later received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Chemistry and a Master of Business Administration from Indiana University in Bloomington. He later went on to receive four Honorary Doctorates from universities and colleges in Indiana.

    In 1980, Bill launched Mays Chemical Company, Inc. and grew it into one of the largest chemical distribution companies in North America. During the first year of business he doubled his $1 million sales objective. From there his business grew exponentially and it is now ranked the 20th largest chemical distributor in the United States. He was regarded as one of the most successful businessmen in Indiana, not just because of Mays Chemical, but also because of other ventures he undertook. In addition to starting Mays Chemical, he also owned The Indianapolis Recorder. In 1990 Mays purchased The Recorder, saving the newspaper. His niece, and a dear friend of mine, Carolene Mays, became general manager of The Recorder in 1998. Under Bill and Carolene's leadership The Recorder grew in readership, prominence, and credibility. The Recorder is still in circulation today. Mays also was the former majority owner of the Hoosier Radio and Television Properties, which include WAV-TV53, HOT 96.3 FM, WGGR 106.7 FM and WIRE.

    His business savvy was impressive, but his dedication to the community set him apart. He served on a wide variety of for-profit and non-profit boards and held many chairmanships. His list of community service honors and awards is lengthy. Just to name a few, he received the National Society of Black Engineers Golden Torch Award (2003), Indiana University's Herman B. Wells Visionaries Award (2000); Wheeler Boys & Girls Club Man and Youth Award (1998); Madame C.J. Walker Lifetime Achievement Award (1998); was inducted into the Junior Achievement Central Indiana Business Hall of Fame (1998); and had the honor of carrying the Olympic flame during its trip through Indianapolis in 1996.

    Mays is survived by his wife, Dr. Rose Mays, retired Associate Dean of Community Affairs at Indiana University's School of Nursing, daughters Kristin Mays-Corbitt, President of Mays Chemical, and Heather Mays-Woods, an educator. Bill was a mentor and a leader of the business community, but most importantly he was a husband and father. On many occasions Mays had said that his true passion was his family. Please join me in thanking Bill's family and friends for sharing such a wonderful man with the Hoosier community.


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