State Mourns, Honors Bill Mays

Posted: Updated:

A prominent Indiana businessman and community leader is being remembered as a "titan of industry and philanthropy." Bill Mays passed away yesterday at the age of 69. He founded Mays Chemical Co. in 1980 and purchased the Indianapolis Recorder in 1990.

Mays is considered one of the most successful African American businessmen in Indiana history.

He was the first black chairman of the board for the Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce and the first African American chairman of the United Way of Central Indiana's annual campaign.

December 5, 2014

Statement From United Way of Central Indiana President and CEO Ann Murtlow:

"I had the great pleasure of meeting Bill shortly after arriving in Indianapolis in 2002. He was deeply engaged in all issues facing our community and gave generously of his time, talent, and treasure to the many corporate, philanthropic, and civic groups he served including United Way. Bill will be fondly remembered for his profound impact on our community."

Source: United Way of Central Indiana

December 5, 2014

Statement From Indiana Governor Mike Pence

Indianapolis – Governor Mike Pence today issued the below statement regarding the passing of Bill Mays, founder and owner of Mays Chemical Co.

"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."

Source: Office of Indiana Governor Mike Pence

The Indianapolis Recorder is one of the nation's oldest black newspapers.

December 4, 2014

Statement From Indiana Regulatory Commission Vice-Chair and Bills Mays' niece, Carolene Mays-Medley:

"Bill was a unique soul with a one-of-a-kind personality. He was incredibly passionate about the community, entrepreneurship and of course family. He was a true giant amongst us who was always willing to lend a helping hand or create opportunities for others. He will be deeply missed for so many reasons; but for us we miss him because of his love, compassion and many simple things - his smile, his laugh, and commitment to family. We loved him just for who he was."

December 4, 2014

Statement from Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard on the Passing of William G. Mays:

"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."

Source: The Office of Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard

December 4, 2014

Statement From Indianapolis City-County Council President Maggie Lewis

"Today, 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."

December 4, 2014

Statement From Indiana Black Expo Chief Executive Officer 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."

Source: Indiana Black Expo

December 4, 2014

Statement From Congressman Andre Carson

"Tonight, 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.'"

Source: The Office of Congressman Andre Carson

December 4, 2014

Statement from Indianapolis Urban League President and Chief Executive Officer Tony Mason

"Yesterday, Indianapolis and the state of Indiana lost a great man. Bill Mays was a forward thinking, visionary leader whose entrepreneurial ventures reached worldwide acclaim. He paved the way for many African-American business and community leaders, and he was one of the most respected business leaders of our time. I personally had the pleasure of working directly with Bill while leading the Circle City Classic. His guidance and support helped the Circle City Classic to become one of the most successful events of its kind in the nation. Bill was also a strong supporter of the Indianapolis Urban League. The thoughts and prayers of the board of directors and staff of the Indianapolis Urban League are with his wife, Rose and the entire Mays family during this difficult time."

Source: The Indianapolis Urban League

December 4, 2014

Statement From Madame Walker Theatre Center Inc. President and Chief Executive Officer Kathleen Spears:

"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."

Source: Madame Walker Theatre Center Inc.