Roy E. Mayes, Sr., son of Henry C. Mayes and Maude Stout Johnson, was born in Champaign, Illinois on November 30, 1903. After graduating from the University of Illinois in 1926 with a master’s degree in economics, passing the CPA exam, and working in Chicago as a public accountant, Mr. Mayes moved to Carthage in 1929 and began work as Treasurer of Carthage Marble. Shortly after making Carthage his new hometown, Roy met and married Ernestine “Ernie” Lukens and had two children, Roy Jr. and Mary.
Mr. Mayes was promoted to President of Carthage Marble in 1933. He grew the company into a leading employer in the area, employing more than 700 employees, many of them special artisans, stone carvers, and marble craftsmen from all over the world. Roy was a fixture in the marble business, both nationally and internationally, and was President of the National Association of Marble Dealers and Marble Institute of America. Carthage Marble was internationally recognized as the world’s largest gray marble quarry, its stone gracing many landmarks including the Missouri State Capitol. Together with Minford Potter, Mr. Mayes also formed M-P Construction Company and built the Hillcrest Addition housing development for returning servicemen from WWII, as well as noteworthy banks and campus buildings.
Mr. Mayes dedicated his life to civic duty. Roy served as Civil Defense Chairman during WWII, Panel Member of the War Labor Board, President of the Carthage Chamber of Commerce Board, President of the Carthage R-9 School Board, President & 50-year member of Carthage Rotary Club, President of the Carthage Park Board, Chairman of the Board of Carthage YMCA, board member of Bank of Carthage, member of the Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite, and on the vestry of Grace Episcopal Church. Active in Boy Scouts of America, he was State Finance Chairman in 1959. In 1961, Roy was appointed by the Governor to the Missouri State Highway Commission and later became Vice Chairman of the Commission. During this time, a new U.S. Interstate through SW Missouri (now known as I-49) was under debate. Through his influence, along with State Senator Richard Webster, Sr., it was assured that Carthage would be on the route.
Roy loved growing the Carthage community and called it the “best place in the world to live.” He is remembered for his great sense of humor, love for his family, and as a friend to all he came across. Roy passed away on June 26, 1989 and is buried in Park Cemetery.