Wendell Mayes, Jr. has lived a long, productive and influential life as a radio and cable television executive, advocate for higher education, leader of diabetes organizations and as a respected role model and loved for his family. He died at age 97 on September 12, 2021 in Austin, Texas. Wendell was born in San Antonio on Texas Independence Day, March 2, 1924, to Wendell and Dorothy Mayes. He spent his early years in Brownwood, Texas, and left to study at the Schreiner Institute in Kerrville, where he was later honored as a Distinguished Alumnus. Wendell served in the US Navy during World War II as an aviation radar technician aboard the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown in the Pacific. After returning from the war, he attended Texas Technological College in Lubbock, where he obtained a Bachelor of Science degree with distinction in Electrical Engineering. He proudly served on the Texas Tech University board from 85 to 91, most notably as president from 86 to 88. He was a distinguished alumnus, a distinguished engineer and a proud Red Raider for the rest of his life. . Wendell owned and operated radio stations and cable television systems in Texas and Oklahoma for fifty years, and he earned his reputation as a fair and generous businessman. Radio stations included KBWD in Brownwood, KCRS in Midland, and KNOW and KCSW in Austin. Of the many honors and medals Wendell received, he was the proudest of the George Foster Peabody Award. One of broadcasting’s most prestigious awards, it was presented to his KNOW radio station in 1973. It was inducted into the Texas Radio Hall of Fame in 2002. Wendell has held executive positions with the National Association of Broadcasters and the Texas Association of Broadcasters. . The TAB named him Pioneer Broadcaster of the Year and presented him with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017. When Wendell retired from his media career, he returned to school and has become a lifelong learner. At the age of 77 at St. Edward’s University, he obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science, Summa Cum Laude, a Master of Liberal Arts and a Master of Business Administration. His education peaked at 89 when he obtained a doctorate. in Finance from Walden University. The 4,000 participants at the graduation ceremony gave him a standing ovation. Wendell and her family have established scholarships at Texas Tech University, University of Texas at Austin, Schreiner University, St. Edward’s University, and Texas Woman’s University. Wendell believed in community service and he left the world in a better place. He has received numerous honors for his volunteer service over the years. Known for his tireless support of diabetes organizations, he has served as president of the American Diabetes Association and president of the International Diabetes Federation. ADA national staff called him “the brightest star on the Lone Star horizon.” He has received the Charles H. Best Medal, the Josiah Kirby Lilly, Sr. Award, the Addison B. Scoville Award and the Harold Rifkin Award from the ADA. In 1986, he was awarded the very first Wendell Mayes, Jr. Medal for outstanding service to the cause of diabetes. It is awarded to exceptional personalities in the fight against diabetes. The IDF named him Honorary President and presented him with the Masaji Takeda Medal in Kobe, Japan. He was the first inductee into the Texas Diabetes Hall of Fame in 1994. Wendell married Mary Jane King in 1946 in Brownwood, Texas. They had known each other since the second year. The Mayes family have made their home in Brownwood, Midland and Austin, Texas over the years. Wendell and Mary Jane celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary in May 2021 at their final home, Brookdale Westlake Hills. They were active members of the Good Shepherd Episcopal Church and the Headliners Club. Wendell loved to tell a story, writing eighteen books along the way. Always on top of the news, he wrote emails, texts, Google searches and zooms until his last days. Wendell’s legacy will be her kindness, intelligence, generosity and dedication to Mary Jane. Wendell is survived by his wife Mary Jane and their three children: Cathey Mayes of Austin, Sarah Mayes of Fort Collins, Colorado and Wendell Mayes III of Round Rock. Also surviving are his sister Jane Ellen Jamar of Brownwood, his sister-in-law Fannie Baker and her husband Bill of Abilene, her brother-in-law Joe King and his wife Lyn of Petoskey, Michigan and Venice, Florida, Elena Llana, a foreign student. del Arenal in Madrid, Spain and an abundance of special nieces and nephews. Wendell’s beloved grandchildren are Christy Collum and her husband Jim from Fort Collins, Colorado, Chris Rollins and his wife Ceseley from Dripping Springs, Leanne Moore and her husband Tim de Weir, Karen Hull and her husband Chris from Vienna, Austria, Emily Mayes of Chicago, Wendell Mayes IV of Round Rock, Blake Mayes and his wife Cassie of Jarrell, and Hannah Mayes of Round Rock. Wendell was extremely proud of his twelve great-grandchildren: Robert, Jordan, Michael, Samantha, Aubrey, Will, Avery, Garrett, Lily, Allison, Henry and Oliver. A memorial service to celebrate Wendell’s life will be held at The Good Shepherd Episcopal Church, 3201 Windsor Road, Austin, Texas on Friday, September 17, 2021 at 11:00 a.m. The family requests that masks be worn during the service. In lieu of flowers, contributions to honor his memory can be made to the American Diabetes Association, Texas Tech University, Schreiner University, and St. Edward’s University. Arrangements by Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home, Austin, Texas – (512) 452-8811. Memories can be shared at www.wcfish.com.
Posted by Midland Reporter-Telegram on Sep 15, 2021.