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David Mayo '58 August 18, 2022 4:15 PM updated: August 18, 2022 4:38 PM

David Rhodes Mayo

January 17, 1936 - August 12, 2022

David Rhodes Mayo, age 86, of College Station passed away on Friday, August 12, 2022. A visitation will be held on Friday, August 19th, 5 pm to 7 pm at Callaway Jones Funeral & Cremation Center in Bryan. A funeral service will be held at 10 am on Saturday, August 20st, at the funeral home. He will be interred at the Aggie Field of Honor in College Station.

David was born January 17, 1936, on the family cotton farm near Kerens, in Navarro County, to Hardy P and Hazel Lee Mayo. He graduated as valedictorian of Kerens high school and entered Texas A&M, Class of ’58. He studied Civil Engineering and served as a Corporal in Squadron 2 of the Corp of Cadets.

In 1958, he married Mary Jane Bivens in Nashville, TN, while working for Farnsworth & Chambers. Their first son, Kim David, was born in 1959 at Nashville, while David was in the Army at Ft. Dix, NJ. He had first learned surveying, helping his father with AAA/USDA crop measurements and erosion control layout, but in Nashville he learned construction surveying and, in the Army, he surveyed missile silos.

He brought his family to Texas in 1960 and returned to Civil Engineering studies at A&M. Upon graduation, he turned his part-time surveying work for C.E. Professor Joe Orr into full-time work and they formed Joe Orr, Inc. in 1963, the same year that son Henry P was born. Daughter Mary Sanford “Sandy” was born in 1965 and soon the Orr’s turned over control of the thriving surveying business to David. David received Registered Public Surveyor license no. 1475 in 1964, and Registered Professional Engineer license no. 27120 in 1967. Business partners included fellow Aggies Ben Thomson and Willie Koehler. Many C.E. students worked part-time for Joe Orr, Inc., including many that became licensed land surveyors.

David led Joe Orr, Inc. for over 45 years, providing public and private surveying and engineering services, mostly in College Station and Bryan. The Mayo family sold ownership of Joe Orr, Inc. to Baseline Corporation in 2014, where Henry continues to lead the College Station surveying office. His working relationship with Wm. D. Fitch lasted almost 40 years, from Glade Street to Pebble Creek subdivision in College Station. His legacy is his reputation for quality surveying and common-sense engineering. He invested heavily in new technology, starting with the purchase of Swiss surveying instruments and programmable calculators in the 1960s, computers in the 1970s and 80s, through GPS and robotic surveying instruments in the 1990s. He was a skilled marksman with a rifle, shotgun and BB gun.

He also had a life-long passion for photography, even having a dark room in the attic of his parent’s home, when he was in high school. In the 1970s, he and Willie Koehler added a commercial darkroom and blueline reproduction lab for copying large maps and printing aerial photographs for surveying projects. David commissioned several aerial photography flights of Bryan/College Station in the 1970s and had large-scale topographic maps plotted from them. He liked to take photos of culverts, bridges and ditches during heavy rains, to see how his structure designs had worked. They even took photos from the air during floods and FEMA used one for the cover of their report on B/CS floodplains.

He was very knowledgeable about building construction, including electrical, plumbing, and concrete work. He and Willie Koehler designed and built with their own labor, the only concrete pier at Carter Lake where David and Jane built their final home in 1968. He also liked doing yard and gardening projects and passed these building trade skills to his children. Although they lived on Carter Lake, he was not an avid fisherman, but deer and dove hunting were annual family events.

David is survived by his wife of 64 years, Mary Jane, and their three children, Kim (Susan) of Groesbeck, Henry (Sandra) of College Station and Sandy (John) of Houston. Grandchildren are Cassie (Aaron) Dieudonne of Houston, Zack and Randa Shriver of Groesbeck, Sarah (Brad) Wines of West, John Mayo of Austin, Brian and John Thoede of Houston. Great-Grandchildren are Vance and Sidney Dieudonne, Kelsi and Corleigh Shriver, Emalynn Shriver, Brayden and Brianna Wines. He is also survived by three sisters, Suzanne (Cecil) Ebersold of Gallatin, TN, Krystal (David) Thorn of Carlos, TX and Sarah (Randy) Coker of College Station. Their brother Ted Mayo (Pat) of Fairfield, TX passed away after David, on Aug. 14, 2022.

The charities of choice are Amedisys Hospice Care in Bryan and the Texas Surveyors Foundation, Inc. (TSFI) in Austin.

David enjoyed studying Texas history, so it is very appropriate that his final resting place within the Aggie Field of Honor cemetery will be at land grant corner first mapped and granted by Stephen F. Austin. Moses Cummins surveyed the 4428 acre league for John H. Jones in 1832 and stated that he set a post at its northeast corner, giving two calls to large, post oak witness trees. The corner post and those oaks are no longer extant, but using a 19th century compass that belonged to Joe Orr and a 10 vara chain, Henry and John Mayo surveyed to two large trees. From David’s grave, a 24” Post Oak bears S 31° W – 58 varas and a triple 12” Post Oak bears S 38° E – 82 varas. What is more befitting for a surveyor than to become a property corner monument for eternity?


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