William G. (Bill) Mays, owner and founder of Mays Chemical Company, died Thursday, December 4, 2014. The Evansville native passed away in Indianapolis on his 69th birthday.
Bill Mays, was a true entrepreneur and in the last third of the 20th Century Mays became Indiana’s most successful Black businessman. Mays established Mays Chemical in 1980 and it became one of the world’s largest chemical distributors.
At the time of his death, Mays Chemical was the sixteenth largest African-American owned Industrial/Service Company in the country, according to Black Enterprise Magazine. A company recognized as a source for chemicals, related raw materials and chemical management expertise.
In addition to his thriving chemical empire, Bill Mays’ entrepreneurial ventures included golf course, commercial business and residential properties and the historic Indianapolis Recorder newspaper. Indiana Governor Mike Pence led the tributes to Mays:
“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 said:
“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.”
From 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.’”
But it’s not just local dignitaries who respected this Indianapolis business mogul. Alfred C. Liggins, President and CEO of Radio One, Inc. (parent company of this website) released the following statement on the passing of William G. Mays:
“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.”
Find out more about the life and legacy of William G. Mays right here.