Tributes and warm remembrances are pouring in on the occasion of the passing of William G. (Bill) Mays who died Thursday, Dec 4th at 69. On Friday’s Afternoons with Amos, Amos Brown shared some of Bill Mays’ many accomplishments and historymaking achievements with listeners. On behalf of the Family, Bill Mays’ niece Carolene Mays-Medley, the former President of the Indianapolis Recorder newspaper and now on the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission thanked the community, on behalf of the Mays Family, for their prayers, well wishes and warm tributes which have been sent to the family and shared on social media. Interviewed on Afternoons with Amos, Carolene Mays gave an emotional and heartfelt tribute to her uncle and what he meant not just for her and the family, but for the entire Indianapolis and Indiana community. State Senator Gregg Taylor shared a forgotten story about how Bill Mays helped him and a group of African-American IU students to form the first Black Little 500 bicycle team. Taylor told Amos and listeners that Bill Mays didn’t know Taylor and the other students personally, but we wanted to help them make IU history. City-County Councilman Joseph Simpson told listeners about Bill Mays’ thoughtfulness and generosity towards his twin college student daughters. The interviews and the tributes from top leaders in the community are a testimony to Bill Mays’ legacy in changing his community and lives for the better. Click the Media Player to Hear the Tributes to Bill Mays from Amos, Carolene Mays, Sen. Greg Taylor and Councilman Joseph Simpson. Runs 23 Minutes ©2014 WTLC/Radio One. Read Other Tributes Below.
Alfred C. Liggins, President and CEO of Radio One, Inc.: “The Radio One Family is deeply saddened by the passing of William (Bill) Mays. He was a business icon – a gentle giant that perfectly embodied the genius and the generosity that great men are made of. Radio One purchased Bill’s Indianapolis stations in 2000 and he in turn became a shareholder and friend. No one conducted business like Bill. He was a dominant force in Indiana to be respected and reckoned with. The Indianapolis community will miss him. The African-American community has lost a gem; and I will sorely miss the man I called friend.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during their time of bereavement.”
Indiana Governor Mike Pence:”The First Lady and I were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Bill Mays, a pillar of true strength within the Indianapolis community. From the success of his business to his unending generosity and invaluable leadership mentoring future generations, Bill touched the lives of countless Hoosiers and his contributions to the life of our state will be remembered always. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his beloved family and friends during this difficult time.”
Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard: “Indianapolis has lost a titan of industry and philanthropy. Bill Mays was a great businessman, mentor, and leader in our community. My thoughts and prayers go to the Mays family and the many lives he touched.”
Congressman Andre Carson: “We lost a leader who dedicated his life to our community. As a businessman, philanthropist, and activist, Bill Mays helped improve the lives of countless Hoosiers throughout his life. I pray that God gives peace and comfort to his wife, Rose, his daughters Kristin and Heather, and to the countless others for whom Bill is “family”.”
City-County Council President Maggie Lewis:”The city of Indianapolis, the state of Indiana and the nation mourns the loss of William G. Mays. While Mr. Mays achieved great success cultivating Mays Chemical Company into a global entity, you and I have benefited tremendously from his entrepreneurial vision and passion for helping those in need. Mr. Mays shattered many glass ceilings in our community, creating opportunities that have enriched the lives of numerous businesses owners, charitable organizations, and individuals throughout the country. His passing reminds us of how precious our lives are and the importance of living each day beyond our dreams. The life he lived and the legacy he has created will be felt for generations to come. My thoughts and prayers are with the entire Mays family, the employees of Mays Chemical Company, the Indianapolis Recorder and each and every person whose life has been changed for better because of him.”
Indiana Black Expo President/CEO Tanya Bell: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Bill Mays, who leaves an indelible legacy of entrepreneurship, community service and advocacy. Bill has always been an advocate for the African-American community and has invested and provided mentorship to numerous small businesses. As a visionary, he founded Mays Chemical and developed it into one of the world’s largest chemical distributors. Bill was an invaluable asset to Indiana Black Expo and the community of Indianapolis. He worked tirelessly to build Circle City Classic® and impact historically black colleges and universities for nearly 30 years. He will truly be missed.”
Shannon Williams, President of the Indianapolis Recorder:“The entire state of Indiana is a little less great because Bill Mays is no longer with us. There are very few people who are as transparent, supportive and business-savvy as he was which makes his death even more difficult. I am grateful he had the insight and passion to purchase the Indianapolis Recorder Newspaper at a time when it was at its most vulnerable. His efforts helped to preserve the history of African Americans in Indiana. The entire Recorder family mourns his passing while also celebrating his lasting legacy.”
Concerned Clergy of Indianapolis: “Extends our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Williams G. Mays. Psalms 30:5b records, ‘Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.’ A person that departs from this earth never truly leaves, for they are still alive in our hearts and minds, through us they live on. Mr. Mays leaves behind an incredible legacy not only to the African-American community, but to the entire state of Indiana. The paths he blazed in the business world for minorities, as well as his contributions to the community will remain unmatched and forever appreciated. Our thoughts and prayers will continually be with the entire May’s family.”
Ellen Annala, former United Way President and CEO: “Philanthropy and communication was not only who Bill Mays was, but he instilled it in his company. And, it continued with companies that spun off… Bill would make introductions to minority business people who had little or no contact with United Way… He was one of the first board members to push us to think about changes in corporate philanthropy and individual choice, and how United Way should respond or get ahead of the curve. He was one of those board members I would seek out to talk through particular issues. He always made himself available to me.” –
Dr. Kathleen Spears, President/CEO, Madame Walker Theater Center: “Our world has lost an incredible leader, successful entrepreneur, and inspirational philanthropist with the passing of Bill Mays. As an organization that honors the legacy of our nation’s first self-made female millionaire entrepreneur, the spirit of entrepreneurship; social justice; and empowerment underpin our work at the Madame Walker Theatre Center. Because of the generosity of Bill, his wife Rose, and the entire Mays family, we have been able to advance Madame Walker’s legacy. For that, we will be forever grateful and our prayers are with the Mays family at this time.”
“The significance of Bill’s service is … that he was an entrepreneur, well rooted in the community, who brought infectious energy to everything he did… he cared about what the community wanted and needed above his own ambitions, and he brought people along with him. It’s not an exaggeration to say that Bill inspired people. He inspired me, and even though our paths have not crossed much in recent years, I already miss him. My condolences to the Mays family and to Indianapolis.” – Irv Katz, President and CEO, National Assembly and former United Way of Central Indiana President and CEO