The photo above, of John Mayo, Jr., was taken by Tracy Griffin Johnson. Tracy also wrote the paragraph
below, and posted both on her Facebook page. At the time that I added them to this page, I noticed that on
Tracy's Facebook page it had 318 likes, 62 shares, and a great number of comments saying what a
wonderful man John was.
The world lost a great man yesterday...the town of Hopedale lost a great man yesterday. Maybe you saw
John walking the town picking up sticks, maybe you saw him at the local sport games, or maybe you saw
him riding his bike to McDonald's...or saw him working there. You may have seen him at Union Church
where, until recently, never missed an event or a Sunday. No matter where you may have seen John he
always had a smile on his face, a positive thing to say and a stat of a local or national sports team! I took
this picture only about 6 weeks ago, days before he was diagnosed with cancer. He was telling me about
going to lunch with his sister for his birthday. He was a simple man. We should all aspire to be a little like
John...Heaven just got lucky and I know John is happy to be there, he loved God!
Memories Menu HOME
Hopedale remembers John Mayo Jr.
By Christopher Gavin Daily News Staff
HOPEDALE - John Mayo Jr. carried his work gloves everywhere.
They came in handy as he kept the routes of his frequent walks clean and tidy. A piece of garbage, a stick or
two in the way - there was nothing he couldn't find and take with him to make the neighborhood just a tad
His passion would sometimes land him behind the lawn mower, trimming the grass in yards along Adin
"If they didn't have a lawn mower, he'd take a lawn mower from here and push it down the sidewalk to their
house," said Jonathan Arone, director of operations at The Ledges, where Mayo lived around the corner on
His strolls would often give him the opportunity to pause and quickly chat with those he passed.
With a friendly introduction, he'd strike up a conversation about the latest news headlines or the statistics of
the Hopedale basketball teams and a quick joke or two, never ceasing to take the time for a good talk.
"He never had an acquaintance," said Nancy Arone, a friend and chief financial officer of The Ledges.
"Everybody was a friend."
Mayo, known to generations around town for his dry wit, bad puns and affinity for local sports, died
Wednesday after a brief battle with cancer. He was 74.
As the news spread over social media throughout the week, hundreds poured out snippets of memories,
calling Mayo not only a Hopedale icon, but also assuring his place among the cream of the crop in town.
"To have that many people remember you fondly, you have to care about them and he just cared about
everybody," said Vincent Arone, Jr., a friend and executive director of the Ledges, Mayo's home since 1973.
On Friday, many of his oldest friends recalled a man who worked behind the scenes to help in any way he
Recycling, shoveling snow, carrying bags - he sprung to action often with a joke, usually slipped in and
nestled among discussion with the passersby.
His quips flowed so effortlessly from his mouth, they almost seemed planned.
As Jonathan Arone recalled, Mayo once sat watching him screw together a bookshelf.
"'Wow, you're really screwing that up,'" Mayo rattled off, he said.
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Born Jan. 24, 1943 to John and Edna Mayo in Newton, Mayo, one of six, attended Hingham High before
settling at The Ledges in Hopedale for assistance with developmental disabilities.
For years, he could often be seen riding his bicycle up to his job at McDonald's on Rte. 140, keeping a
careful watch over his fry duties as a shepherd would for his sheep.
He devoured news, particularly this newspaper, daily, and saved the clippings to show others, especially
anybody who had a link to the latest stories.
What he learned usually materialized in his prayers at Union Evangelical Church on Dutcher Street every
Sunday, from those affected by the latest tragedy to a hope for a Patriots victory.
His reading would also fuel his passion for Hopedale sports teams, rarely missing a basketball game.
"Every day I'd get updated on it," said Joseph Calabrese, a friend and former neighbor. "Every day without
And perhaps it was Mayo's encyclopedic knowledge of athletic statistics that helped earn him the "fan of the
year" designation a few years back, too.
His positive spirit never faltered, especially as he received a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer in January, just
after his birthday, his friends said.
"He was a fighter: strong, determined," said his sister Kathleen Mohla, of Orleans.
He entered Milford Regional Medical Center last Monday, where he was already a fixture known for his
frequent lunches there - he deemed them "the best" in town - and received a hearty welcome from staffers.
Mayo kept his humor, as well as his habit for reading the Daily News to the end, but declined a subscription
as he battled the disease when offered one, Nancy Arone, said.
His reason? So she could get it for him, walking as he did, stopping for conversations along the way.
A memorial service is scheduled for Sunday, March 19 at 1 p.m. at the Union Evangelical Church, 25
Dutcher St., Hopedale. A private burial on Cape Cod will follow.