Washington Women's History Consortium
Women's Clubs and Organizations
Thea Mays, Yakima, President, 1947-1949
Washington State Federation of Women's Clubs
Mrs. Malcolm Mays, (Theo Hillyer) was born in Toppenish, WA, and moved to
Yakima before she was one year old. She was the only child of
Mr. and Mrs. Jonas Hillyer and had an adopted sister.
While traveling extensively in the United States, Europe, Hawaii and Cuba,
she always made her home in Yakima except for five years in Ellensburg.
She graduated cum laude from the University of Washington with a B.A. in
Liberal Arts. She took post graduate work in Berkeley, CA and at the U. of W.
Mrs. Mays taught three years at Naches High School and was active in the
American Association of University Women before her marriage.
In 1931, she was married to Malcolm C. Mays, a graduate of the University of Missouri. They had three children, two boys and a girl.
She was an active member of the Presbyterian Church, taught a Bible Class, was a member of PTA, a den mother for Club Scouts, and was chairman for many drives to raise money in her community. She was chosen Woman of the Year in Yakima in 1948.
Her first club activity was as a Junior. She was President of the Agenda Club and was elected State Junior President. Later, she served as Recording Secretary for WSFWC, Club Extension Chairman, Second Vice-president and First Vice-president.
She was elected the twenty-eighth President of WSFWC in Seattle in 1947. She took for her projects World Peace through Understanding and Youth Conservation. Full reports from the United Nations Organization and all its activities, especially of UNESCO were part of the program and urged upon clubs.
The Marshall Plan to provide financial aid to rehabilitate devastated European countries was studied in the state and local club meetings and endorsed by the Federation as a move toward lasting peace.
The Mid-year Board Meeting was in Wenatchee, with "Save Wheat, Save Meat, Save the Peace" as the theme.
The GFWC met in Portland in 1948 for its convention. Many Washington women attended with special trains of the Eastern delegates passing through Seattle. WSFWC provided entertainment for the women as they traveled through Seattle.
Mrs. N.S. McCready, Past President of the Federation, died in Everett in October 1948, after a long illness. Mrs. H.S. Elwood, Third President of WSFWC, died in Oakland, CA in December of 1948.
Mid-year Board Meeting was in Aberdeen in November 1948. Plans for the dedication of Federation Forest were made. The forest now included the tract purchased in exchange for the Snoqualime tract, and the much larger adjoining tract purchased by the state on the Chinook Pass Highway near Mt. Rainier. The rolls of tree purchasers had been reopened for a brief time, and several names were added by the payment of $100 per tree, as in the original tract. The date of the dedication was set for July 16, 1949. Mrs. H.E. Maltby, who invited Jeanne Caithness of Everett to bring this project before the Board of the State Federation in 1926, was chosen to dedicate the forest. From the time of the presentation of this project until this dedication, Mrs. Maltby never wavered in her devotion to the cause, even when the original Forest was condemned as too dangerous to traffic and had to be sold for logging. She continued her efforts and secured another suitable tract.
Mrs. Mays appointed Mrs. Milton Sutton, Mrs. Beth Brooks. and Mrs. Mack to work with Mrs. Maltby in the planning. Although the actual dedication was the first act in the term of her successor, credit should be given to Mrs. Mays, as she gave generously of her time and effort to bring about the final ceremony. One of the new trees was added to the roll in her honor by Yakima District.
Convention was in Everett in June 1949. Mrs. J.L. Buck, GFWC President was the honored guest.
"Better Communities at Home and Abroad" was the central thought around which the Everett convention programs built. All world cooperation was urged as a continuing program.
Mrs. Mays was appointed by the Governor as the Chairman of the State Resources Committee with Human Resources her special field. She was also recommended to represent Washington State on the GFWC board.