Harvey was born November 24, 1929, in Havre, Montana to Francis Nathan and Helen Minerva Smith Mays. He grew up in Havre and was graduated from Havre High School in 1948, shortly after which he joined the United States Army. After active duty in the Army, he transferred to the Air National Guard and in March 1951 was part of the Montana ANG units that re-opened Moody Air Force Base, which had closed at the end of World War Two. His arrival at the base was followed immediately by a trip into Valdosta to see what the nightlife offered, and on that first evening he met Martha Frances Stalvey, with whom on November 3, 1951, he began a marriage that lasted 71 years and 2 days. That marriage produced two sons, who added two daughters-in-love to the family; they are Roger & Carolyn Mays of Hahira and Doug & Susan Mays of Athens. His memory is further cherished by his grandchildren and their families: Laura, Donnie, Korie & Colin Smith of Valdosta, Thomas, Amanda, Eason, Caroline & Carleigh Mays of Blackshear, John, Charlotte, Lily, Amelia & Miriam Mays of Macon, and Matthew, Katherine & Bethany Mays of Decatur, He is also missed by his sister Olive Mays Anderson of Missoula, MT, four nieces, four nephews and the whole Stalvey family which he loved as his own for almost 72 years. He was preceded in death by his beloved Frances, his parents, and his sister Lois Mays Baker of Williston, ND.
Harvey was an earnest Christian and an active member of the Bemiss United Methodist Church for 56 years, where he held nearly every office in the church at one time or another, and in the late 1960s led the church to start a Boy Scout troop, which he served as Scoutmaster for five years. He treasured all his Scouting experience until his death. In 1958 he completed his B. B. A. degree at Valdosta State College, and with that spent most of his working life in the insurance business, finishing with his own Mays Insurance Agency from 1974-1997, where he sought to be a servant by helping clients protect their property and their financial futures.
In his 60s he discovered Kairos Prison Ministries, through which he delighted serving his Lord and His people joyfully, especially those whom society wanted to forget. His family and all those over whom he had influence knew him as a man who always wanted to give a hand up. He lived with integrity and despised injustice, dishonesty, hypocrisy and people taking advantage of others; because of that he was cherished by friends of all races.
The family express our deepest gratitude to the compassionate and caring staff of Regency Southern Care Hospice and Hospice of South Georgia, and to the wonderful staff of Fellowship Home at Brookside for their great care for Harvey and Frances in these last months.
Funeral service will be held Wednesday, March 15, 2023, at 3:00 p.m. at Bemiss United Methodist Church in Valdosta with Rev. Ron Smith and Revs. Roger and Doug Mays officiating. The family will receive friends an hour prior to the service. Interment will follow at Cat Creek Primitive Baptist Church Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, please consider donations be made to Samaritan’s Purse, to Kairos of Georgia [State Treasurer, P. O. Box 5743, Forsyth, GA 31029 or kairosofgeorgia.org] or any other Christian charity of your choice. Condolences may be expressed to the family online at www.purvisfh.com. Purvis Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.