R. Thomas Mayhill · 1991
This speech was given at his induction into the Hall of Fame.
Tom Mayhill was born with printer’s ink in his blood and with an eye for Hoosier mania, basketball.
Both are still with him.
Tom, this is not your obituary we are reading.
Tom was born April 17, 1917, at Delphi, Indiana, where his parents, Bert B. and Dora L. Mayhill, edited and owned half-interest in The Delphi Journal.
Not long after that auspicious birth, Tom began his long, outstanding journalistic career. In 1928, at the age of 11, Tom recalls with pride the fact that he kept the score book for the Delphi Journal at the first Indiana state high school basketball tourney at the Butler Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
Just a year later, he was working as a proof reader. During the summer of 1930, he published a children’s newspaper, the Delphi News. While in high school, he became sports editor of the Delphi Journal.
There’s not much he hasn’t done around a newspaper except retiring. During his youth, he also set type by hand, operated a Line-o-type, and operated presses before enrolling at the University of Illinois. There he became managing editor of the Daily Illini and represented the university at the opening of the New York World’s Fair.
After graduation from Illinois, Tom worked briefly as a pollster and investigator for the Gallup Poll.
World War II interrupted his career. He served as an intelligence officer and later as a gunnery and communications officer on transports.
During the war, he found time to get married. He and his wife, Margaret A. (Peggy) Kreisle Mayhill, have four children.
After the war, he became assistant publisher of the Hoopeston, Illinois, Daily Chronicle-Herald and owner and publisher of the Camden, Indiana, Record-News.
He soon headed for greener pastures. In late 1946, he purchased the Knightstown, Indiana, Banner, becoming editor and publisher. It now is the Tri-County Banner. He also has been publisher of Indianapolis Monthly. Today, Tom is chief executive officer of Mayhill Publications. The company publishes Farmweek and Antiqueweek.
What else has Tom done? Plenty.
In 1935, he began using field goal attempts and rebounds in basketball box scores. Later he added turnovers and steals. He is believed to have been the first sports editor to do so.
He developed a system for rating high school basketball teams which were syndicated weekly to several Indiana daily newspapers.
He has been president of the Indiana Republican Editorial Association and a delegate to the 1980 Republican National Convention.
He has served since 1988 as a member of the U.S. Postal Service’s Mailers Technical Advisory Committee.
He compiled and published “Abstracts of Deeds for Lancaster County, Pennsylvania – 1729Ð1770.” It is used extensively by genealogists. He also has compiled and published some other genealogical records and published reprints of old county and state a
Public service is another one of his careers. Most notable in this arena was his leadership in the successful campaign to build a public swimming pool at Knightstown.
Tom has a reputation for fairness and honesty in news reporting which has earned him respect of readers of his publications.
The publishing business – profession – has come a long way since Tom started his career 63 years ago as a child. He has kept abreast of the changes and technology. He never installed a new piece of publishing equipment in his plants unless he knew how to operate it.
His has been a hands-on career.
R. Thomas Mayhill, a worthy addition to the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame. Congratulations.