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Obituary for Virgil Q. Mayo
Virgil Q. Mayo of Blountstown, Florida, died on November 24, 2014. He leaves his wife and companion of 65 years, Frances C. Mayo. Virgil bragged that he was born in the Florida State Hospital for the Insane in Chattahoochee, Florida, where his father was employed, on July 28, 1924. Born to Martin Sidney Mayo and Susie Walden Mayo, he attended Chattahoochee High School, dropped out of school and graduated from Florida State Barber College in 1944 before completing high school. He joined the U. S. Army and was on a troop ship to be part of the invasion forces of Japan when World War II ended and served in the occupation forces in Japan and Korea. After his enlisted military service, he attended the University of Florida for two years. During this time, he met, courted and won the hand of Frances Clemmons of Bonifay, a graduate of the Florida State Hospital School of Nursing. They married in June 1949, the same year he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant the U.S. Army Infantry. He was accepted into the College of Law at the University of Florida and graduated in 1951 before his commission as a First Lieutenant in the Judge Advocate General Corp. He began his legal career in Blountstown with Henry V. McClellan. He maintained a general law practice until 1963 when he was appointed as one of Florida's first public defenders by Governor Ferris Bryant, as the result of the landmark case Gideon vs. Wainwright. He served as a public defender for the next 39 years. In zealously representing the indigent clients in his district, his staff maintained the highest acquittal rate of any public defender office in the state. He twice served as president of the Florida Public Defender's Association and was considered an expert in criminal jury selection in rural counties, among other topics. His legal interests only scratched the surface of his many pursuits. He was a voracious reader, a history buff and genealogist, a self-taught blacksmith, a champion garderner, a world traveler, an avid knife collector, a winning poker player, fisherman and hunter. At one time, he served as a Boy Scout Scoutmaster and more recently, a docent at the Panhandle Pioneer Settlement in Blountstown. He was a member of the Elks Club and the American Legion. A loyal friend and family man, V.Q. was also a dedicated Gator. Fifty years after graduating from the University of Florida, he was recognized as a member of the Gator Guard. He is survived by Fran and his four sons: Martin (wife, Elaine, and sons Reed, Mathis and Drew), Mike (wife, Sally, and children Maja and Mason), Miles (wife, Betty, and children Matt, Mark and Mallory) and Mac (wife, Theresa, and daughter Marifrances) and three great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his sister Sue Gissendaner. VQ is considered a favorite uncle by Sue's children: Mark, Mitch, Micah, Melissa, Matt, Morgan and Martin. Virgil is predeceased by his parents Martin and Susie Mayo, his brother, Oscar, and brother-in-law, Joe Gissendaner. He was buried at the Pine Memorial Cemetery on November 28, 2014. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Panhandle Pioneer Settlement, 17869 NW Pioneer Settlement Rd., Blountstown, FL 32424. Charles McClellan Funeral Home, 15 S. Jackson St., Quincy, FL, (850) 627-7677, was in charge of arrangements.