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In Memoriam: Honoring a Remarkable Colleague and Friend

In Memoriam: Honoring a Remarkable Colleague and Friend

Published: Monday, June 10, 2024

Dr. Paigton Mayes passed away on Monday, June 3rd. As her work family, our desire is to honor her life and legacy, recognizing her dedication and passion which have impacted everyone who knew her.

Her professional journey was truly inspiring. In the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology at the Hudson College of Public Health, she led the evaluation of the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust’s (TSET) Youth Action for Health Leadership (YAHL) Program with expertise and commitment. Her work extended to providing technical assistance for the TSET Healthy Living Program and the TSET Discovery Grant Program.

Her contributions were not confined to our organization alone. She was an active member of the American Public Health Association (APHA) Health Equity Committee and the Oklahoma Public Health Association Health Equity Caucus, where she advocated for health equity and social justice.

A lifelong learner, she completed the University of Oklahoma’s New Leader Development Program, further honing her leadership skills. Her academic achievements were exemplary, earning a PhD in Community Psychology from Wichita State University and an MPH in Social and Behavioral Health from the University of Kansas School of Medicine – Wichita.

Beyond her professional accomplishments, she owned Mayes Evaluation & Research Advising, focusing on providing research and evaluation assistance to small, community-based non-profit organizations. Her dedication to these causes reflected her deep commitment to uplifting communities and making a tangible difference in the lives of others.

She was also an author, penning the children’s book Warrior Child, which tells the adventures of a young girl with Sickle Cell Disease. Her creativity and empathy shone through in this work.

In her personal life, she was an avid gamer, a lover of reading, crafting, singing, playing her flute, and planning activities with friends. Her vibrant spirit and enthusiasm for life were contagious, bringing joy and camaraderie to those around her. She even created a poignant video about living with Sickle Cell Disease, offering a personal and powerful perspective on this condition.

Her impact on our team was immeasurable. She played a key role in fostering a positive atmosphere, building team cohesion, and creating a sense of belonging. Her kindness, wisdom, and unwavering support will be deeply missed.

As we remember her, we celebrate a life well-lived, marked by compassion, dedication, authenticity and a commitment to making the world a better place. Paigton’s favorite color was yellow, a hue that symbolizes joy, optimism, and hope. These qualities were reflected in the way Paigton chose to live life, bringing positivity and inspiration to those around her. Her legacy will continue to inspire us and guide our work, reminding us of the profound difference one person can make.

Donations for the family can be sent to Amber Freudenberger – Venmo @Amber-R-Cook. Cash donations can be given to Dr. Laura Beebe, HCOPH Room 301.

Services will be held on Saturday, June 15th, 2024, at 11:00 A.M at Union Baptist Church in Wagoner, OK.