William G. Mays
William G. Mays was a man with the golden touch. The intrepid Black entrepreneur died Dec. 4 in Indianapolis, Ind., on his 69th birthday.
An Evansville native, Mays was known as Indiana’s most successful businessman. In 1980, he established Mays Chemical Co., and it hasgrown into one of the world’s largest distributors of chemicals, related raw materials and chemical management expertise.
But his entrepreneurial vision did not stop there. Mays’ business empire included radio and television stations, golf courses, commercial and residential properties, and the historic Indianapolis Recorder Newspaper.
“The entire state of Indiana is a little less great because Bill Mays is no longer withus,” said Shannon Williams, president of the Recorder. “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.”
May had several leadership roles, including being the first African-American chairman of the board for the Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce as well as the first and only Black chairman of the annual campaign for the United Way of Central Indiana.
Mays is survived by his wife Dr. Rose Mays, retired associate dean of community affairs at Indiana University¹s School of Nursing; daughters Kristin Mays-Corbitt, president of Mays Chemical and Heather Mays Woods, an educator.
“The loss of Bill leaves a void in our hearts,” said niece Carolene Mays-Medley. “Bill was a unique soul and generous spirit, with a one-of-a-kind personality. He was incredibly passionate about the community, entrepreneurship and of course family and friends. 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 – like his smile, his warm heart, and commitment to our family. We love him just for who he was.”