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William G. Mays, founder and CEO of Mays Chemical Company, dead at age 69

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William G. Mays, owner and founder of Mays Chemical Company, died Thursday December 4, 2014. The Evansville native passed away in Indianapolis, IN on his 69th birthday.

The entrepreneur, known as Indiana’s most successful Black businessman, established Mays Chemical in 1980 and it has become one of the world’s largest chemical distributors recognized as a source for chemicals, related raw materials and chemical management expertise. In addition to his thriving chemical empire, Mays’ entrepreneurial ventures have included radio and television stations, golf courses, commercial and residential properties, and the historic Indianapolis Recorder Newspaper.

His leadership roles have included being the first African-American chairman of the board for the Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce as well as the first Black chairman of the annual campaign for the United Way of Central Indiana. (Earlier versions of this story stated that Mr. Mays was the only Black chairman. This has been corrected.) 

Mays is survived by his wife Dr. Rose Mays, retired associate dean of community affairs at Indiana University’s School of Nursing, daughters Kristin Mays-Corbitt, president of Mays Chemical and Heather Mays Wood, an educator.

At this time, details on funeral services for Mays have not yet been released.

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