James McCurry “Mac” Mays ’65, age 70, died peacefully Sept. 9, 2013, in Madison with his family at his side.Mac was born Nov. 6, 1942, in Walhalla, South Carolina, the only child of Henry and Rieppe Mays. He was a proud graduate of Walhalla High School, Davidson College and the University of Pennsylvania Medical School. He practiced medicine for 40 years, chiefly neurology, in North Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado and Kansas. He married Paula Graf in 1985, and together, they raised a family of six children. Mac was a lifelong student and fan of creative writing, baseball and basketball (especially the Kansas City Royals and KU Jayhawks), as well as any sport his children were playing. He loved hiking in the mountains and cooking for his family, and later in life he discovered a love of birdwatching. He thoroughly enjoyed a freshly baked cookie or piece of pie and his favorite family recipes have become legendary. After years of writing short stories, he published Reservation Days: Adventures of a Reluctant Physician in 2011, a “fictional (but true)” account of his early career. The introduction read: “After finishing medical school and an internship, he joined the Indian Health Service and spent two years as the only doctor on a reservation in North Dakota. Until then he had considered himself a man of science, but after his experience there, he realized that often the best way to get at the truth of a thing was through fiction.”Mac is survived by his wife Paula in Madison, children David (Stacey) Mays in Parker, Colorado, Sarah (Nick) Dutton-Swain in Lafayette, Colorado, Aaron (Mackenzie) Knoebel in Bozeman, Montana, Jacob Mays in Chicago, Laura (Jeff) Mays in Chicago and Alex Mays in Chicago, and grandchildren Emma, Anna, John, Lyla, Aesop and Zephyr. He is also survived by his mother-in-law Doris Graf, sisters and brothers-in-law William (Sabina) Graf, Bob (Camille) Graf, Karen Roach, Karla (Naz) Jenulevich and Laura (Mary) Graf and many beloved nieces and nephews, cousins and friends.
A special thank you to Jean, Duffy, Julia, Randy and Ross and all the doctors and nurses, friends and family who supported us on this journey.
Mac’s life will be celebrated in a private ceremony at his favorite place, Yellowstone National Park. Memorials may be made to the University of Wisconsin Transplant Program’s Douglas T. Miller Fund (or your local transplant program), the Audubon Society or to a charity of your choice.