By Alexa Haik
The City of Pearl recently celebrated the retirement of Thomas Mayo, with a special drive-by parade. He has been employed with the City of Pearl Solid Waste Division since 1998. According to his daughter Jennifer Kelly, “it meant so much to him that Mayor Jake Windham, the fire and police departments and also the city employees threw him a surprise retirement parade with firetrucks, police cars and many other vehicles. With the sirens blaring and before the neighbors knew it was a parade, many had called to check on them to see if they were okay. A lot of excitement on their street that day.”
A resident of Pearl for sixty-five years, Mayo has been married to his wife, Rachel, for sixty-four years. They have three daughters, seven grandchildren (all Pearl graduates) and nine great grandchildren.
In Thomas Mayo began his employment journey after graduating from Sebastopol High in 1954. His first job was as a Bellhop at the Heidelberg Hotel in Jackson. He then went on to become a Warehouse Manager at Capitol Tobacco for forty-four years.
Then the unexpected happened when he went to pay a water bill. While in the City's Public Works office, he ran into the Mayor at the time, Jimmy Foster and Public Works Director, Bud Overby. They asked him what brought him to town. In response to this friendly exchange, he jokingly replied that he was looking for a job. Unbeknownst to him, Foster and Overby completed a city employment application on his behalf and called him back down there to complete the rest. He told them at the time that he would commit to work for them for one year. That one year turned into over twenty. His official title: Manager of the Compactor Station. He will retire from the City with a sterling record, for never once receiving a reprimand from a higher up.
In the twenty plus years Mayo remained with the City, a lot has changed, especially in regards to the “Compactor Station” Mayo occupied. What was once referred to as the “small shack” and held only one trash dumpster has evolved quite a bit, with the addition of air and heat and three extra trash dumpsters to boot.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and being “eighty-four years young,” Mayo made the difficult decision to retire and return home to cut grass and work in his garden. The family says that “We think our dad has the best tomatoes and butterbeans in Pearl.:” When asked what he will miss the most about is job, he says “He will miss his good friend and co-worker Mack Costello and the many friendships he has made over the years.”