Charles Mays was born February 5, 1931, to Betty and Houston Mays at home in Hamilton, AL.
Charles dropped out of school when he was in the eighth grade, in order to help his mother after his father suffered a stroke. He learned how to drive at 17 and started working at a local corrections institute. After doing a good job there, he was promoted to a dump truck driver for the county and made $1.17 an hour.
In the spring of 1952, Charles got an opportunity to leave Hamilton and secured a job with Hayes Aircraft as an aircraft mechanic in Birmingham. In 1953 though he told his mother that he had been drafted by the Army, he actually volunteered to serve his country. He enlisted in the Army on March 13, 1953 and was honorably discharged from active duty March 14, 1955. He was stationed in Germany during the Korean War and was part of the battalion that was responsible for securing the German border for fear of the Soviet Union. Charles then served in the Armed Forces Reserves until March 23, 1961.
When Charles was discharged from the Army, he went back to work at Hayes Aircraft. Shortly after this time, he met Jackie and convinced her to go on a date with him. He often said this was the best thing that ever happened to him. They were married on November 24, 1955 and shared 67 beautiful years together before his passing.
Charles worked at Hayes from 1952 to 1982. After serving as a United Way volunteer for 11 years, he got an opportunity to work as a labor liaison for United Way. Charles retired from United Way in March 1998 after suffering a heart attack in December 1997.
Charles served as a layman in multiple capacities at Eastmont Baptist Church, Clearview Baptist Church and Huffman Baptist Church. He influenced many with his love for the Lord and his compassion for others.
He was a great ‘shade tree mechanic’ and kept his cars in tip-top shape inside and out.
Charles was known for an impressive vocabulary even though he only had an eighth-grade education. Charles loved his wife and his family and was so proud of his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He and Jackie shared multiple homes in the Birmingham area including staying with their children in later years. Most recently they resided at Somerby 119. He would often tell anyone within earshot that he was “Blessed with a capital B”.
He is preceded in death by his father, Houston Mays; his mother, Betty Mays; his brother, Paul; and his sisters, Earnestine and Maxine.
He is survived by his wife, Jacqueline and his children, Ronald (Pam) Mays, Sidney (Lisa) Mays, and Charlene (BR) Johnson. He is also survived by his 7 grandchildren, Jessica (Paul) Caspers, Samantha Mays, Brandon (Shelby) Johnson, Daniel (Kaitlyn) Johnson, Phillip Mays, Jordan (Lorenzo) Flores, and Rachel (Zach) Stewart. Additionally his 8 great-grandchildren: Peter, Jacqueline, Charles, and Lucas Caspers; Ellis and Rhodes Johnson; Jackson Flores; and Esther Stewart.
Throughout his life Charles was guided by his faith in Jesus and his family now mourns but with the hope that they will see him again.
A celebration of his life will be held Sunday, October 1 at Jefferson Memorial Funeral Home in Trussville, AL at 2pm. The family will receive visitors from 1-2pm. His internment will occur Monday, October 2 in Albertville, AL.
In lieu of flowers, his family asks for donations to the United Way of Central Alabama to continue building on the legacy of service he leaves behind.