Albert R. Mays, Jr., age 94, of Green Lake, WI, passed away at Ripon Medical Center after a brief illness on Wednesday evening, December 29, 2021. He was born on March 6, 1927, in Chicago, Illinois. His father was a pharmacist in Louisville, KY. Al grew up in nearby New Albany, Indiana, until his graduation from high school when he entered the Navy in WWII. He served on a sub-chaser in the Pacific.
After leaving the service, Al attended Purdue University on the G. I. Bill receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering. He married June Thompson, also a Purdue graduate, on Thanksgiving Day, 1949. Al was a member of the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity. He graduated from college in 1951, two months after his oldest daughter was born.
Al became a Registered Professional Engineer in Rockford, Illinois, where he was employed by Sundstrand Aviation for over 30 years. His duties included designing constant speed drives and "black boxes" for military and commercial aircraft, and visits to highly secretive "SAC" bases. Calvin Coolidge III requested that he join a team that was designing the speed rudder braking system for the first space shuttle, later known as Columbia, piloted by astronaut Robert Crippen in April,1981. This was highly secretive work allowing the shuttle to become the first reusable space vehicle to land on a conventional runway.
For many years, Al and his wife June spent summers on Green Lake with their children. Al's job was to make sure all lawnmowers, boat motors, and housing projects ran smoothly, as only a mechanical engineer could. He was a loving and involved father and grandfather who taught all his children and grandchildren sailing, skiing, swimming, camping, and the love of the outdoors. Al was a great friend and neighbor, lending a hand to anyone who needed advice on fixing something and teaching newcomers to the lake how to operate and land a boat. Al and June retired full time to Green Lake in 1990, welcoming many friends to their home. They spent 20 winters in Tucson, AZ.
Al was a volunteer at the Dartford Historical Society, a member of St. Peter's Episcopal Church, the Green Lake Association, and an early member of the Green Lake Yacht Club.
Those Al leaves behind to cherish his memory include his three children, Terry A. (Alan) Snell of Indianapolis, IN; Michael A. Mays of Durango, CO; and Melinda S. Gedye of Fond du Lac, WI; five grandchildren, Joanna L. Nelson of Tucson, AZ; Christine E. Mays of Hanover, MA; Lisa C. Mays (Justin Redd) of Costa Mesa, CA; Diana M. Gedye of Norman, OK; and Alexander J. (Fang Yen) Gedye of Princeton, NJ; one great-grandson, Adrian Gedye; his sister-in-law, Roberta (John) Mays of Minneapolis, MN; many nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, Albert R. Mays Sr. and Beatrice Mae Mays; his wife, June Mays (Nov. 18, 2021); 2 brothers, John and Roger Mays.
A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date for both Albert and June Mays as they passed so close together. A private family burial will take place at the Dartford Cemetery in Green Lake. If you wish, donations can be made to the Dartford Historical Society. Please visit our website www.wachholzandsons.com to send a condolence or to share a memory of Albert with his family.
Wachholz and Sons Funeral Home
Sunset Cremation Center in Princeton
Serving the Family, 920-295-6631
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