Quincy civic leader, Bob Mays, dies

Quincy Area Chamber of Commerce TMs Business Hall of Fame member Bob Mays has died. reports that Mays, 89, passed away Friday morning.

Biography from the Business Hall of Fame ceremony:

The endurance and resolution Bob Mays learned in the Navy from 1942-1954 benefited him in the business world, where he would become a partner in or sole proprietor of nearly 20 businesses.

After entering the business world through his father's Flava Manufacturing Company, Mays opened Mississippi Valley Canteen Service Company, a food service business that not only served mid-day meals on site to local factory workers but also catered high-profile affairs. The catering business expanded with the opening of The Host Room, a banquet facility at 926 Vermont. He also owned the Little Indian Trading Post, the Red Carpet lounge, and the Open Pantry before entering the real estate profession in 1964.

As a realtor, May's vision has left an indelible mark on Quincy's downtown. He has owned, rented, leased or sold nearly 50 properties in the Historic Quincy Business District, including the former Forum property at 415 Hampshire, the Newcomb Hotel, and the original State Savings Loan & Trust Company at 428 Maine. In an attempt to lure a national hotel franchise to the downtown area, Mays orchestrated an investor group to purchase the land, buildings, and businesses between York and Jersey Streets from 3rd to 4th Streets, where Peter Albanese would eventually locate his Holiday Inn Holidome in the mid-1980's. This development would serve as a catalyst for other significant downtown developments, including the nearby Oakley-Lindsay Civic Center. In addition, Mays was instrumental in securing a consultant named Bob Teska to develop a plan for revitalization of the central business district.

In 1973, Mays guided investors who wished to turn 75 acres of farmland into a subdivision south of Spring Lake Country Club. What started as a 70-lot subdivision has expanded several times and now includes 139 homes and 44 condominiums.

Mays was part of the so-called "Long Board" that served as commissioners of the Quincy Park District from 1947-1976 and developed the unwritten objective of "a park within a mile of every home in Quincy." The newest park at 18th and Koch's Lane is named in his honor.

He received the Illinois Association of Realtor's Distinguished Member Award for Community Service, the Quincy Association of Realtor's Outstanding Realtor Career Award, The Cathedral of Worship Vision Award, and HQBD Award for Excellence in Downtown Revitalization, and many other awards.

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