‘Energetic’ GJ minister, businessman Mayes dies

Percy Mayes

Percy Mayes was a fixture in the African-American community and ministry in Grand Junction.

The 83-year-old pastor, who baptized, married and even gave business advice to more than a few black worshippers and friends during more than 50 years in the Grand Valley, died Monday at his home. Funeral services will be at 1 p.m. Tuesday at Callahan-Edfast Mortuary, 2515 Patterson Road.

“I remember him as a very friendly person,” Handy Chapel trustee Josephine Dickey said. “He always had enough time to talk. So many people tell you what they need or how bad things were. He always had something to praise the Lord.”

Mayes was raised in Ledbetter, Texas. Despite having just a third-grade education, he became an ordained minister in Memphis in the early 1950s. He moved to Grand Junction in 1956 and started Mayes Church of God in Christ, 1725 Unaweep Ave. He retired a year ago after serving 53 years as a minister.

Mayes worked hand-in-hand with Handy Chapel, a nondenominational African-American church which has hosted services since 1892, according to Dickey.

Mayes started an African-American church in Denver shortly after establishing the Church of God in Christ in Grand Junction. He led the Denver church for close to 20 years.

“He was very energetic and personable,” Jones said. “He was very instrumental in people’s lives in Denver. Though he was uneducated, he was quite successful.”

He was not only a pastor, he was a businessman. He started Mayes Cafe behind the bus station and had a salvage yard.

Although Mayes was ill for several years, he was able to get around on his own, but his health steadily declined after a heart attack one day at the Church of God in Christ, Jones said.

Survivors include his wife, Beverly of Grand Junction; two sons, Jerry Mayes and Percy Mayes Jr., both of Grand Junction; one daughter, Audrey Jones of Denver; and 11 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Dorthia.

Memorial contributions should be made to Beverly Mayes, 1748 Escalante St., Grand Junction,  81503.


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