Mayes told the Lincoln Times-News in an August interview prior to his induction into the Charlotte Broadcast Hall of Fame that he planned to attend the event, despite his illness.
“I always tell people that I have worn out 35 doctors in the area since I moved here,” he said with a laugh.
Mayes began his broadcasting career reading the news in his home state of Tennessee at a small station in Nashville and later gained experience reading the news of World War II when serving in the U.S. Navy. He made the successful transition to television 1952 and became one of only six “Esso Reporters” in the country, sharing the honor with Walter Cronkite. He was the first full-time news anchor in the Charlotte market.
For more than 30 years, Mayes made his living behind the news desk of WBTV and, later in his career, WSOC-TV, where he retired in 1988.
Mayes stayed connected to music through the years, his 1972 Gibson Hummingbird acoustic guitar sat on a stand in his living room and he would encourage anyone who could play to “hit a lick or two” while visiting.
Mayes’ music career is often overlooked and underreported. He shared the stage with legends like Bluegrass pioneer Bill Monroe and guitar hero Chet Atkins. He appeared on the Grand Ole Opry multiple times.