George H. Mayr Foundation
The George H. Mayr Foundation has generously donated the funds to establish the George H. Mayr Trust Scholarship.
George Mayr was born in 1868, the youngest of five children. As a youth, George dreamed of being a doctor; however, a medical education was far beyond his family’s monetary means. At 14, he dropped out of school so he could get a job to help support his family. He worked as a grocer’s delivery boy and an office janitor, earning $5 a month.
Even though George was never able to fulfill his lifelong dream of a college education, he still considered himself a fortunate man. Far from embittered, he turned his energy and focus to service in an effort to help others achieve what he had never achieved himself.
While still helping other individuals in his community, Mayr realized he wanted to use his social skills and good business sense to become an entrepreneur. He took his life savings, borrowed some money, and began investing in real estate in Chicago, Illinois. After successful investing in real estate in the late 19th century, he purchased a drug store in Chicago. He had shrewd entrepreneurial instincts and began to develop a drugstore chain, which became quite successful.
In 1905, Mayr suffered an attack of typhoid fever that left him with a stomach disorder that persisted in spite of the best medical care. Hearing of a remedy prescribed by a French physician for a similar ailment, he tried it and found it extremely beneficial. When hearing a friend of his was suffering from a form of jaundice, he casually recommended the treatment. His friend’s condition improved and soon, word of “Mayr’s wonderful remedy,” spread to neighboring cities. His remedy became so popular, that he was able to use the money he was making from it to advertise and to grow the business by even more. By 1912, “Mayr’s Wonderful Remedy” was a $9,000 a month business.
The druggist-entrepreneur decided to use the money to invest in other enterprises. He bought, managed, and sold more real estate, and in twelve years he had made a fortune. Because he had always been a believer in the importance of a great education, he sought out and financially helped one girl and seven boys through college. All eight of them ended up being quite successful, and repaid Mayr every penny.
In the 1920s, George Mayr sold his Chicago interest and moved to California with his mother. On an around-the-world cruise, he met Elizabeth Plummer, whom he married when they returned to the United States. In Southern California, Mayr again invested profitably in real estate. George often told his wife of the satisfaction he had found in helping the Illinois college students finish their education and decided he would start a scholarship foundation. Thus, the George Henry Mayr Foundation was established in 1949.