Gilbert Carl Mays, age 100, of Forest City, passed away Friday, November 5, 2021 at his residence. Gil was born in Cooleemee, NC, and was the son of the late William Carl Mays and Minnie Bean Mays and also the widower of Carlene Sawyer Mays. He was a graduate of N C State University and entered the textile industry working as a superintendent and manager for various textile companies through the years, Erwin, Burlington and Fieldcrest Mills. He was a past president of the Eastern Textile Association. As a long time member of First Presbyterian Church, Forest City, he served as an Elder for many years and also Clerk of Session. Gil was also a Forest City Kiwanian having perfect attendance for forty one years, enjoyed golf, was a member of the Forest City Golf Club and was a Gold, Silver and Bronze Medalist in the NC Senior Games. He served his country proudly as a US Navy pilot and torpedo bomber during WWII. Gil was the thirteen thousandth pilot to land aboard the USS Yorktown in 1944 and the last survivor of Torpedo Squadron 1. He was entered into the US Library of Congress for his age and war record and a flag was flown atop the US Capitol in his honor on January 28, 2021.
Survivors include his son Dr. David C. Mays (Teresa) of Washington, NC; grandchildren, Aaron Mays and Tyler Johnson; and great grandchildren, Holden Mays, Jasper Mays, Windsor Johnson, and Isles Johnson. He was also preceded in death by a son, Kenneth Mays, and a daughter, Katherine Meyer.
The family would like to express special thanks to caregivers, Opal Gee, Warren Sparrow and great neighbors for their years of love, care and friendship. Also, thanks to Don Suttles for his care and friendship to Gil.
A memorial service will be held at a later date. The cremated remains of Gil and Carlene will be interred privately in Weaverville, NC.
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