Milestones: Wallace H. Mayton III ’70 Discusses Family’s Loyalty to Rhodes
Publication Date: 10/28/2010
When Rev. Wallace H. Mayton III set foot on campus as a freshman in 1966, he was hardly a newcomer to Rhodes. His parents--Wallace Mayton Jr. and Ann Bolling Eckert Mayton--both attended Rhodes, where they met and both graduated in the class of 1940. Wallace III’s younger brother Maury later attended the college in 1972. Now the associate pastor at Memorial Presbyterian Church in Midland, Mich., Wallace III will return to campus Oct. 29 for his 40th class reunion over homecoming weekend. This year, his father also is marking 70 years since his Rhodes graduation.
“My dad really loves the school. And my mother thought there was no better place on earth than that campus,” says Wallace III. “I am very proud of the heritage that my parents gave me, and part of that heritage is Rhodes.”
The Maytons lived on Autumn Avenue, and Wallace III, his brother and his sister all attended Snowden Elementary school and Central High School. Because of their close proximity to the college and what Wallace III calls his parents’ “loyalty and devotion to Rhodes,” the family spent a great deal of time on campus.
“A daily ritual when I was growing up was bringing our dogs over to campus and letting them run around in the field next to Mallory Gym, even before the football field was there,” says Wallace III. “We had a real affinity for the campus.”
Wallace Jr. and Ann came to the college in 1936 when it was still Southwestern at Memphis and met when Ann, an English major, began tutoring Wallace Jr. who was a chemistry major. They began a courtship and married after graduation.
Wallace Jr. went on to work at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center but maintained close ties with Rhodes. While Wallace III was attending Rhodes, Wallace Jr. served as president of the Alumni Association from 1967-68. “His proudest possession is a Rhodes College (Southwestern) chair that was presented after his term. He loves that.”
Adds Wallace III, “My going to Rhodes was sort of a celebration for them, because they always wanted their children to go to Rhodes.”
A political science major, Wallace III was active in Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity and participated in the first summer of Southwestern At Oxford, now known as British Studies. He also was captain of the first varsity swim team and because the college did not have a pool then, Wallace Jr. arranged for the team to practice at the swim facility at UT. “He was a supporter even then,” says Wallace III.
After graduation, Wallace III attended Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary and married Katherine Lindsay Abbott Mayton ’72. He then attended Notre Dame University, where he received a second master’s degree.
Wallace III, who has been in the ministry for 35 years now and who participated in Rhodes’ Kinney program, says the college cultivated a spirit of service and instilled in him an appreciation for community.
“As a pastor, I understand how important community is. Being part of campus life, and being close to faculty members and other students all have been assets for me in my ministry,” he says.
Wallace Jr., 96, now lives in Lubbock, Texas with his son Maury Weisiger Mayton ’76. “I couldn’t fit on a full sheet of paper the different volunteer activities my dad has been involved in,” says Wallace III. “We have a strong sense of wanting to give back what we feel we have received. I think Rhodes, to a great extent, nurtured that in all of us.”
(information compiled by Rhodes Student Associate Lucy Kellison ’13)
Rev. Wallace H. Mayton III ’70 and Katherine Lindsay Abbott Mayton ’72
Wallace Howard Mayton Jr. ’40 and Ann Bolling Eckert ’40, Spring 1940 at her parents′ home on Autumn Avenue