Dr. Joseph Mayo, known to all his friends, family and colleagues as “Joe” died on
Friday, November 16, 2012 at Shock Trauma in Baltimore, University of Maryland.
Born on October 23, 1925 in Pleasant Hill, Alabama, he was the son of the late John
Buster Mayo and Susan Simonton Mayo. Joe is survived by his beloved wife of 63 years,
Laura Frances Sullivan Mayo and three children, daughter Lieser Milligan Mayo Hicks
and husband David Arthur Hicks, son Joseph “Dave” Mayo and wife Nancy Blank Mayo,
and son William Simpson Mayo.
Joe grew up in Pleasant Hill Alabama and served in the United States Navy during
WWII in the South Pacific. He received a degree in Chemistry at the University of
Alabama; Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine and a Master’s Degree in Physiology from
In 1963 he went to work at Southern Research Institute in Birmingham Alabama. Joe
taught at University Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) in the early 70’s. In 1974 he served
as a Veterinarian Officer at NCI for the Division of Cancer Treatment. Joe was appointed
Chief of Mammalian Genetics and served as acting Director of Division of Treatment
at NCI Frederick and in his spare time taught at Frederick Community College. At
the age of 80 Joe retired from NCI Frederick to devote his life to his favorite
hobbies farming and research. Upon his retirement he promptly returned to NCI Frederick
to volunteer his services and continued to devote time to raising cattle on his
farm located in Pleasant Hill, Alabama.
Joe was always optimistic, he felt the cup was always full and overflowing never
empty. He was a calming influence to all his friends and family. Life was good and
there was never any reason to worry. He was a simple kind of man, easily approachable
and full of wit and humor. Many would judge him as a good ole’ country boy and even
underestimated his wisdom, but upon hearing him speak were impressed by his vast
knowledge. He was respected and loved by his friends and co-workers. He loved sports,
crossword puzzles, research, and farming and was indeed a humble man. Joe never
bragged about his work or accomplishments. Joe once told a colleague, if you entered
research for fame and glory you made the wrong choice; this is a field of service
not self- promotion.
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