Frank Mayo


One of Georgia's avid mineral collectors, Frank Mayo was born in Atlanta on August 31, 1901, an only child of Scotch-German parents. His early years were spent deep in the Florida Everglades on his father's homestead south of Miami, 10 miles from the nearest town. After several years, the Mayo's returned to Atlanta to the family farm.

Frank Mayo had a natural fascination with chemistry and chemical compounds. He excelled in grade school science courses and entered the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1920, where he began seeing with a chloride and sodium hypochlorite solution. He left Georgia Tech in 1925 to return to his father's dairy farm business, where he developed a practical application for his chemical, now known as bleach. Mayo's formula cleaned and sanitized the dairy farms stalls and equipment better than anything they had ever used.

In 1927, Frank Mayo married Winifred Davis Layton, a native of Cartersville. The young couple manufactured Mayo's bleach at the dairy farm and sold it to other dairy operations throughout north Georgia. The bleach caught on with Georgia's blossoming textile industry and the first Mayo Chemical plant was built in Dalton, Georgia to meet the new carpet capital's growing demands. The company's product line expanded, and

Mayo Chemicals reached the international market. Three other Mayo Chemical plants were built, with general offices headquartered in Smyrna, Georgia.

Frank and Winnie Mayo have four daughters, numerous grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren. Among the many common interests that they shared was the love of rocks, minerals and gems. They joined the Georgia Mineral Society, and Mr. Mayo became president in 1966. He founded the Cobb County Gem & Mineral Society and served as its president for many years. He was also Instrumental in establishing the Southeast Federation of Mineralogical Societies and became its first president in 1975.

Upon Mrs. Mayo's death in 1984, Frank Mayo built the Mayo Wing and Library at the museum in her hometown of Cartersville. The expansion was dedicated on November 8,1987 as a tribute to his wife and her love of mineralogy. The Mayo Wing houses collections of national and international gems and minerals, and includes specimens that he donated to the museum. The library contains collections of books on earth science, geology, mineralogy, paleontology, gemstones plus periodicals in the accompanying fields. Even after his death in 1989, Frank Mayo's family remains active supporters of the museum.

Via Weinman Mineral Museum News, October 1998, Jose Santamaria, Director

A Brief History of the Mayo Educational Foundation

by Diane Dare, MEFI President 2004-2005

Frank Mayo was one of the founders of the Southeast Federation of Mineralogical Societies, Inc. (SFMS), incorporated as a non-profit organization on November 26, 1975. He was also the federation’s first president. The education fund began in 1976 when the Cobb County Gem and Mineral Club, Frank Mayo’s home club, donated $350 to SFMS in memory of his late mother, Vesta Mayo. The club’s donation stayed in the SFMS general treasury as technicalities were worked out to officially establish a separate fund designated for educational purposes.

On May 3, 1980 the members of SFMS established the “Vesta Mayo Educational Foundation” (VMEF) as a separate division of the federation. Five people made up the Board of Directors: one was the SFMS President, the other four elected at SFMS’ annual meeting. The principal of the fund would be invested/preserved and only the interest income was to be used for scholar-ships for graduate students in Earth Sciences. Frank Mayo offered to match all donations until a goal of $100,000 was reached. In 1983, Harold Sparks offered to donate $5 from each registration fee at the first workshop held at the new retreat (William Holland) to VMEF.

Sufficient interest income had accrued by 1985 and the first scholarship award ($1,000) was announced at the November 2 meeting. On December 16, 1985 the VMEF was incorporated in the State of Georgia with Harold Sparks as the registered agent. The directors were Helen Coe, Ben H Smith, Martha Spies, David Tuttle, and Frank Win-gate.

At the August 2, 1986 meeting in Greenville, SC, Frank Mayo gave $20,000 to bring the fund up to $44,000. A hat was passed and another $175 was collected, which he also matched. SFMS approved a request in 1988 “that all interest on SFMS accounts be allocated to the Vesta Mayo Educational Fund”, and the first payment was made in 1989.

Meeting on November 18, 1989, SFMS Executive Board passed a resolution to donate $1,000 in memory of Frank Mayo to the foundation. The name was changed to “Frank Mayo Educational Foundation”, and it was decided to allow undergraduate junior and senior students in college or university as well as graduate students to apply for scholarships. The Board of Directors was increased to seven people, the SFMS Education committee Chairman being one of them.

In 1990 the Mayo family asked that the name be changed to “Mayo Educational Foundation”, its purpose to honor Vesta, Frank, and Winnifred Mayo. Carolyn Mayo Randall presented a ‘matching funds’ check for $17,000. The fund had reached its first goal and now stood at $103,617.29

SFMS donated $100 to MEFI in memory of Dr. Albert Dix at the February 23, 1991 Executive Board meeting, stating policy will be to transfer $100 to the Mayo Foundation upon the demise of SFMS past presidents. In 1992 a plaque was placed in the Weinman Museum listing each MEFI scholarship recipient’s name, school, and date.

In 1999 to further acknowledge the Mayo name, scholarship awards would be named for seven individual Mayo family members, starting with Vesta Mayo, then Frank Mayo, Winnifred Mayo, Carolyn Mayo Randall, Charlotte Mayo Bryant, Vesta Mayo Dalia and Billie Sue Mayo Driggers.

In 2004 the MEFI awarded four scholarships which totaled $7,400. Low interest rates meant less money was available for the awards, so donations to increase the principal are always appreciated.

Years of Note

  • The Mayo Educational Foundation was established in 1980.

  • Then called the Vesta Mayo Education Foundation, the first scholarship grant was given in 1985.

  • Multiple grants were awarded beginning in 1989.

  • In 1991, the name was changed to “Mayo Educational Foundation".