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Monday, March 4, 2024

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Many in the Indiana community and beyond are stunned by the news that William G. Mays, founder and owner of Mays Chemical Co. and owner of the Indianapolis Recorder Newspaper has passed away.

As someone who touched the lives of many over the years, people are reaching out to give condolences and share their thoughts on such an influential Hoosier.

Following are statements from the community.

Carolene Mays – Medley, niece of William “Bill” Mays and Commissioner, Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission

The loss of Bill leaves a void in our hearts.

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.

It was a blessing for us to be there with him as the angels took him home. My uncle Billy 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.

Indiana Governor Mike Pence

The First Lady and I were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of William “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.

U.S. Rep. Andre Carson, D-Indianapolis

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.”

Greg Ballard, Mayor of Indianapolis

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.

Michael Huber, president & CEO, Indy Chamber

As an influential leader in our business community, Bill Mays’ dedication to this community will be felt for years to come. The Indy Chamber is forever grateful for his leadership during his time as our Board chairman and beyond and we will work to continue his passion for providing opportunity for all Indianapolis businesses.

Kathleen N. Spears, president & CEO, Madame Walker Theatre Center, Inc.

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.

Tony Mason, president and CEO, Indianapolis Urban League

Indianapolis and the state of Indiana have 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.

Tanya Bell, president and CEO of Indiana Black Expo

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 Co. 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.

Indianapolis Recorder Newspaper Facebook statements

Curtis Magee: “Icon”

Thomas Jones: Rest in Peace, a true pioneer in his field and community

James Anthony Tucker: RIP, sir. It was an honor working for you

Star Dalton: RIP! Praying for strength and peace for your family and friends.

Netrice Devon: My condolences to his family. Thank you Mr. Mays for being a legend in the Black community.

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