Leslie Samuel Mays, a beloved schoolteacher and sergeant in the United States Air Force, died Friday, Oct. 15, 2021, in Newport.
Born to the late Booker and Gladys Denson Mays on Aug. 20, 1943, Leslie was a lifelong member of St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church in Newport.
Leslie attended J.N. Hout Elementary School and W.F. Branch High School in Newport, where he graduated in 1961. He attended Philander Smith College in Little Rock before joining the United States Air Force in 1965. After a tour of duty in Vietnam, he was honorably discharged from the United States Air Force on Dec. 20, 1968.
He was then employed by the Chevrolet division of General Motors in Flint, Mich., before returning to Little Rock to complete his degree in Elementary Education at Philander Smith College in May 1974. Later, he received a master's degree in elementary education from Arkansas State University in Jonesboro.
He was employed by the Newport Special School District as a math teacher at the beginning of the 1974-75 school year, where he remained until he retired. As a school community, Leslie is fondly remembered for his 26 years of encouraging countless students to embrace the problem solving challenges of mathematics.
Leslie was preceded in death by his parents, Booker and Gladys Mays; and his brother, Wayman Allen Mays.
He will be deeply missed by his sister, Charlotte James, of Little Rock; his aunts, Mary Wilson, Martha Coburn and Glenn (James) Moore, all of Flint, Mich.; niece and goddaughter, Annette (Chris) Stewart of Portage, Mich.; nephew, Russell (Ericka) Mays, Benton; nieces, Paedra Mays, San Diego, and Evelyn James, Little Rock, Trisha (Phillip) Mays-Cummings, Bentonville, Natalie James, Little Rock, and Alexandria James of Little Rock, great-nephews, Allen, Eric, Nathan, Wesley and Patrick; and great-nieces, Amethyst, Emani, Lavender, Nalia, November and Audrey.
Leslie Samuel Mays set an inspiring example, not just as an educator, but as a friend, mentor, and lifelong learner. Many students were impacted during the 26 years of his presence in the classrooms and hallways of our schools.
Visitation will be from 5-7 Thursday, Oct. 21, at St. Paul AME Church in Newport.
Graveside services will be at 11 a.m. on Friday in Odd Fellows Cemetery at Auvergne, directed by Taylor and Kimbrough Funeral Home.