Murray R. Mayes, 89, of Delmar, died Saturday, Feb. 21, 2009 at Good Samaritan Lutheran Health Care Center, Delmar. He was born in 1919 in a farmhouse just outside of the Village of Fleischmanns, in the Catskill Mountains.
Murray lived in Fleischmanns until he was 65, except for the four years he attended Hartwick College in Oneonta and one year that he worked in a grocery store in New Jersey. He and his wife, Bertha, moved to Delmar in 1986 to be closer to their children.
Murray owned and operated The Mayes Company, Inc., hardwood veneer mill, in Fleischmanns. His father started the business around 1940. Murray came home at age 24 to run the business upon his father’s death. At its peak, the mill was one of the largest employers in Delaware County, employing over 125 people. It sold veneer throughout the northeastern United States. The veneer was used to make everything from tennis rackets to kitchen cabinets to stacked high heels in ladies’ shoes. He sold the business in 1967.
After he sold the veneer mill, Murray was a consultant to two businesses, the acting administrator of Margaretville Memorial Hospital in Margaretville on two separate occasions, and was the business manager of the hospital for three years.
Murray was very active in his community. He was a member of the Fleischmanns High School Board of Education from 1946-1964 and president of the board for two of those years. He was a trustee of the Village of Fleischmanns for eight years and the mayor for 14 years. For over 40 years he was a member of the Administrative Board of the Fleischmanns United Methodist Church. He was a member of the Erpf Catskill Cultural Center in Arkville and president of the board for one year. He was also active in Rotary for over 40 years.
While living in Delmar, he was a member of the Men’s Garden Club, was very active in the First United Methodist Church of Delmar, especially the fall fair and the Albany United Methodist Society where he was a member of the Finance Committee and a tutor in the after school program for children living in the city of Albany. Murray was also a volunteer at the Five Rivers Environmental Education Center for several years.
In retirement, Murray became a hand weaver. He took several workshops from nationally and internationally known weavers and became well-known for his handwoven wool rugs, which—ever the businessman—he sold. He was a member of the Hudson-Mohawk Hand Weavers Guild, the Schenectady Designer Crafts Council and Arachnae. His rugs were exhibited in a one-man show at the Erpf Cultural Center and in several juried shows in the Capital District where he won many awards.
While Murray majored in chemistry in college and was a successful businessman, he loved the arts and classical music, especially the opera. He had a wonderful sense of humor and really enjoyed watching reruns of the “Dennis the Menace” TV show.
He was predeceased by his wife of 44 years, Bertha Cowan Mayes. Murray is survived by his daughter, Marilyn Kaltenborn (H. Stanley); his sons, Brian (Nanette) and Dean (Maryclaire); his three grandchildren, Nell Turgeon (Matthew), Zachary Mayes and Hal Mayes; his sister, Geraldine Cantwell and several nieces and nephews.
The family is very thankful and appreciative of the excellent care he received while at Good Samaritan Lutheran Health Care Center during the last five years. Murray has donated his body to the Anatomical Gift Program at Albany Medical College.
The family requests that contributions in memory of Murray be made to the First United Methodist Church of Delmar, 428 Kenwood Avenue, Delmar, NY 12054 or Good Samaritan Lutheran Health Care Center, 125 Rockefeller Road, Delmar, NY 12054.