Edward Burnett Mayo
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EDWARD BURNETT MAYO died on Wednesday afternoon, the 15th day of June, 2005, at the age of 86, at his home in Houston. Mr. Mayo was born in the same house, on July 13, 1918, to Henry M. Mayo and Louise Sweeney Mayo. He attended both Holy Rosary and St. Anne Catholic schools, and was graduated from St. Thomas High School in 1936. He entered The Rice Institute in the fall of that same year, and was graduated in 1942 with a degree in Architecture. Mr. Mayo joined the U.S. Army in the summer of 1942 and became an Airman and 2nd Lieutenant in the 32nd Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron during World War II. His squadron sailed for Europe on two ships, the Fitzhugh Lee and the Paul Hamilton. Most of the squadron was lost when the Paul Hamilton was sunk by German aerial attack in the Mediterranean on April 20, 1944. Mr. Mayo and the remaining squadron continued on the Fitzhugh Lee to Italy, where he served until returning home in the summer of 1945. Mr. Mayo worked as an architect in Houston for most of the years prior to January, 1961, when he was hired by James Chillman, Jr., Director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, to serve as Registrar of the Museum. As such, he developed and maintained the extensive archival system used in tracking the location and condition of all works of art in the Museum and coordinated the movement and handling of Museum works loaned to other museums in the United States and abroad. Mr. Mayo's deep interest in the arts led him to support numerous local artists, galleries and art institutions over a fifty year period. Beloved in the arts community and by his large circle of friends, he was a walking repository of detailed information about the cultural and arts history of the City over a large part of the last century. He retired from the Museum in 1986, but continued to be active in the arts community. Mr. Mayo is survived by his long time partner, Bill Lassiter, the descendants of his deceased brothers, Gordon Mayo, and Harry Mayo, Jr. and of his mother's brothers and sisters, who included Katherine Sweeney Williams and by many treasured friends. Thanks is given to Susan Willis for her tireless assistance and support to Mr. Mayo over the last four years. A rosary will be recited at Holy Rosary Church, 3601 Milam St., Houston, on Saturday morning, June 18, 2005 at fourty-five minutes past nine o'clock, followed by the Mass of Christian Burial at ten o'clock with the Rev. Joseph D. Konkel. O.P., officiating. Interment will follow at Forest Park Lawndale Cemetery, 6900 Lawndale, Houston, Texas. A reception in Mr. Mayo's honor will be held that afternoon from four until six o'clock at the Bradshaw-Carter Home, 1734 West Alabama Street, Houston, Texas. Friends are cordially invited to all services. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Humane Society Houston, 14700 Almeda Road, Houston, Texas 77053, or the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1001 Bissonnet, Houston, Texas 77005. Online tributes may be posted at www.bradshawcarter.com.


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Published in Houston Chronicle on Jun. 17, 2005.
Memories & Condolences
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4 entries
June 20, 2005
Dear Edward, we're going to miss him so much. It was a true pleasure and honor to know him. Every time I see a bow tie, I immediately think of him, and how my Aunt Marian was always trying to design and sew up a new one for him. I always knew something in the mail was from Edward by his beautiful Calligraphy lettering. And I'm mostly going to miss our telephone chat sessions to catch up on all the news; his smile was always in my heart, even long distance. From the Sinclair family, Alan, Jenny and Kyle.
Jennifer Sinclair
June 20, 2005
I was so very sorry to learn of Edward's death.

Whenever I think of my ten years at the MFA Houston - which is often - some of my fondest recollections are of Edward.

He was instrumental in ensuring the success of the museum archives program that I was hired to begin in 1984. Edward was so open in sharing what he had and what he knew. He shared his knowledge of people and events freely and often, a factor which was critical in my being able to learn something of the essential nature of the place. He saved as much of the historical records as he could prior to the establishment of an archives - squirreling them away in storage areas. I distinctly remember boxing up all the old museum exhibition files that he had saved over the years and the very real pleasure he took in turning these over to me. This made all the difference in beginning the program on a solid footing. During my ten years there, if I found little of an event on paper, Edward could almost always supplement this with his own vivid and entertaining recollections. He served time and again as my "historical tour guide" as I assembled the records and collections from the past. I owe his so much for this. And I believe it is true to say that without Edward's singular efforts, our knowledge about the visual arts in Houston would be greatly diminished. We are all in his debt for this as well as his many other contributions to the Houston arts scene.
Kathleen Williams
June 17, 2005
It was an honor and a privilege to know Mr. Mayo. He had such a mischievous and humorous zest for life. Your friends will all miss you. Our love and support go out to Bill.
George Zombakis
June 17, 2005
I would like to express my deepest condolences for my great-uncle "Bink", whom I never had the good fortune to meet. My father, Gordon, was his nephew, (Gordon Sidney Mayo's son) and I remember he used to speak fondly of his uncle. When I heard from my cousin Jim Warren that he had visited Edward last year, I was very excited about it. I asked my husband Michael if perhaps we could go to Houston to visit him as well, but now it's too late. I feel terrible that I didn't get the chance to talk to him, but I'm sure that Jim has lots of great stories to share. I am so much in awe of Edward and his accomplishments, especially since I am a big fan of the visual arts, and have studied art for many years. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.
Jennifer Mayo Walsh
1732 N. 74th Avenue
Elmwood Park IL 60707
Jennifer Walsh
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