W. Clayton Mays, Jr.November 9, 1929 ~ August 4, 2017 (age 87)
W. Clayton Mays, Jr., passed away on August 4, 2017, due to complications from a fall. He was 87 years old.
Clayton was a child of the Great Depression: born November 9, 1929. He was raised in Fair Play, SC, as the youngest of eight children. His parents were Dr. William Clayton Mays, Sr., the town doctor and Kate Harris Mays, a busy homemaker. His brother, Harris died as a young child. His brothers Harry and Lane were also medical doctors like their father. His sisters Lillian, Euna, Edith and Evelyn were teachers. When it was his turn to go to college and “get a career,” artistic Clayton took his math teacher’s advice and studied Architecture. After graduating from Clemson University, Clayton married his childhood sweetheart, Marian Ann Gray (1929-1984) in 1950. His Clemson Tiger pride remained strong throughout his adult life.
Newlyweds Clayton and Marian first moved to Asheville, NC. Clayton worked as an Architect with Six Associates (1950-1953). The couple welcomed two sons, Stephen Gray Mays (1952) and Gregory Clayton Mays (1955). The young family also worked in Spartanburg, SC before finding their way to High Point, NC in 1956.
Clayton established his own firm, Mays and Parks Associates, with friend and colleague Robert “Bob” Griffin Parks (1924-1993). The pair worked together for over 20 years. They made an impact on Midcentury Modern Design in the region, first in residential and then later commercial and institutional architecture. Notable in High Point, NC are the Gibson House in Emerywood, the Judge Haworth House, High Point Museum, The Presbyterian Home Cottages and Forest Hills Presbyterian Church, which was his favorite and where he was a charter member. Other projects include the Sanders residence in Asheville, NC, Rockingham County High School in Reidsville, NC and Colfax Elementary School in Colfax, NC. Towards the end of his career he worked with Smithey & Boynton (1983-1992) after his partner Bob passed away. His last completed project was the current City of High Point Public Library. Clayton was a member of AIA from 1958-2017, as well as many other organizations. His interview with NCModernist can be viewed at, http://www.ncmodernist.org/mays.htm.
Clayton became a widower when Marian died from cancer in 1984. He then married Martha Ellen Ward, a local interior designer, ASID in November of 1988 at St. Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh, Scotland. Martha and Clayton eventually retired and enjoyed traveling the world together and keeping up with family.
Clayton is remembered for his letter writing, love of colloquialisms, gardening and a supportive independent nature. He leaves behind a large loving family. He regularly attended family reunions and kept up with his many nieces and nephews.
Clayton is survived by his wife, Martha; son, Steve and his wife, Noel and his son, Greg; grandchildren, Ramsey, Aspen, Brantley and Elizabeth; great grandchildren, Hayden, Natalie, Camille, Gabriel and Olimpia, along with many nieces and nephews.
We love you, Dad, Husband, Gramp, Uncle, Cousin…go in peace, be happy and thank you for all you have given us.
A Memorial Service celebrating Clayton’s life will be held on Sunday, August 20, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. at Forest Hills Presbyterian Church, 836 W Lexington Avenue, High Point, NC. There will be a reception at the church for family and friends following the service. The inurnment will be private.
Memorial contributions can be made to Forest Hills Presbyterian Church.
Forest Hills Presbyterian Church
836 West Lexington Avenue, High Point NC 27262