James Otis Mayo
Rear Admiral, United States Navy
Foreign relations and economic policy specialist
Jim Mayo – aviator, aircraft carrier commander and economic analyst, died peacefully at his Arlington home on August 18, 2007. He was 87 and had Parkinson’s disease.
Born in Philadelphia, Mississippi, he graduated from Mississippi State University in 1941 with a degree in business administration and then quickly began his naval career flying torpedo planes in the Pacific during World War II. During the war he met his future wife, June Gilbert, and his future friend and colleague, Austin Kiplinger.
In 33 years he had a diverse military career including assignments in the air, on ships and overseas. He worked with the Department of State and served as defense attaché to Moscow. He commanded a squadron, a wing, a fleet oiler and an aircraft carrier. He flew fighters, torpedo planes, reconnaissance and transport aircraft. He was awarded the National Defense Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Presidential Unit Citation, the Legion of Merit Award and the State Department’s Meritorious Service Award. He found time to receive his master’s degree in international affairs from George Washington University.
After his naval retirement and two years with a Washington area think tank, he joined The Kiplinger Washington Editors, Inc. in 1977 first as military and foreign affairs editor, then as executive vice president and finally as vice chairman of the board of directors. In this 20-year career he combined his economics background and his military experience, writing and speaking on all aspects of national security and economic policy. During this period he also served on the Mississippi State’s College of Business and Industry’s senior executive advisory board.
He treasured his network of old and new friends and in later years took great pleasure in organizing get-togethers, from squadron reunions to brunches and dinners with nearby friends. He started the “Romeo Club” (Real Old Men Eating Out) in his Evermay neighborhood.
He is survived by his wife of 63 years, June; daughter Tracy of McLean; grandson David of McLean and brother Hays and sister Mildred.
Admiral Mayo was laid to rest with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery on 25 October 2007.
Posted:24 October 2007