Wendell Mayes (1924-2021)

23 September 2021

It is with deep sadness and regret that the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) announces the passing of our former President and Honorary President, Wendell Mayes, Jr.

Wendell Mayes lived a long, productive and influential life as a radio and cable television executive, an advocate for higher education, a leader with diabetes organisations and a respected and loved role model for his family.

He believed in community service and received a host of honours for volunteer service throughout his life. He served IDF for many years in a variety of roles at the international level, including IDF President (1991-94), President-Elect (1988-91), and Member of the Board (1982-88). In addition to being a transformational President for IDF, he had also served as Chairman of the American Diabetes Association.

Many medals and awards were conferred on him such as the Wendell Mayes, Jr. Medal for Outstanding Service in the Cause of Diabetes and the IDF Masaji Takeda Medal. He was the first inductee into the Texas Diabetes Hall of Fame in 1994. It was a great honour for me to have been in contact with Wendell during the last year regarding his time at the IDF and I received a copy of his book entitled, ‘Just Reminiscing’ published in 2019 when he was 95! It contained a fascinating narrative of his travels whilst in office for the ADA and IDF across the world. Even in his late 90s, Wendell remained sharp, witty and a pleasure to correspond with. Indeed, we were planning to meet up the next time I came to the USA but sadly due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this never occurred.

Known for his tireless support for diabetes organisations, Wendell Mayes, Jr. was an outstanding individual who dedicated his efforts to the fight against diabetes.

Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this time. He will be missed by many in the global diabetes community and his legacy will live on for many decades.

Professor Andrew Boulton
President, International Diabetes Federation

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