Jerry Dean Mayo
Jerry Dean Mayo was born on August 31, 1935, in Evansville, Indiana to Richard and Bessie Mayo. He was the 5th of 13 siblings. His family called him “Dinky” and together they had many adventures. Jerry was hard working and enterprising from the start. He sold newspapers on the street at age 5. He and his brother Jesse bought their first car, a model T Ford, when he was 13 and Jesse was 15. They drove their car all over the countryside despite not having a driver's license or even a license plate!
He graduated from Luce Township High School in Richland, Indiana in 1955. It was there on the school grounds that a young eighth grader named Clauda Richards pointed him out to a friend and said, “That’s the one I'm going to marry.” They wed on July 7, 1956 and were married more than 61 years.
Jerry graduated 3rd in a class of 300 from an apprenticeship at Inland Steel as a Master Welder. He worked in the steel and aluminium industry for many years, eventually becoming a Master Mechanic. He taught technical and hydraulic classes for years at Trident Technical College and other schools. After 20 years, he retired as a Mechanical Technical Advisor at Alumax.
He was a fun and loving daddy to two daughters, Toni (Steve) Cross and Tami Neighbors. He taught his girls how to fish. Even though their canvas tent fell down in a severe thunderstorm on their very first night out, he took his family on many camping trips. Together they travelled throughout the Western United States, including Yellowstone National Park, his favorite fishing spot.
He loved and spoiled 6 grandchildren. He taught them all how to play pool on his pool table. He never let any of them win. Ever. However, he was always willing to teach them how to beat him. He was “Den” to 10 great-grandchildren who loved him. He always had time to play Legos, or dinosaurs, or talk to a dolly. His home has always been a gathering place: to his daughters’ friends as they grew up, Youth Exchange Students, and many friends over the years. He was a friend and role model to many.
He was a community servant who helped establish and then served on the Luce Township Volunteer Fire Dept., coached a softball team, built a playground at Devon Forest Elementary, and volunteered as a baseball commissioner for the city of Portageville, Missouri. He was a Lions Club member for more than 53 years and gave freely of his time and talents to many service projects. He served as District Governor from 1989 - 1990. He was President of the Lions Eye Bank, and later served on the board of LifePoint. He was honored with the prestigious Melvin Jones award twice, and was inducted into the Lions Hall of Fame in 1994.
He was a member of Goose Creek United Methodist Church for more than 15 years. He loved his church family and attending church. Even when Alzheimer’s disease took his words, he could still recite “The Lord’s Prayer” and sing the hymn “In The Garden.”
On January 21, 2018, due to complications from Alzheimer’s disease, Jerry Dean Mayo passed from this life to Heaven. He was 82 years old.