Milton N. Mayr Sr. and Phyllis A. Reininger Challie Mayr are celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary June 7, 2012. They were married June 7, 1952, at Camp Chaffee in Fort Smith, Ark.
The priest forgot to show up at the ceremony because it was his last day in service and he had to be tracked down to perform the marriage.
Phyllis was born and raised in New Braunfels, Texas, and Milt hails from Waco, Texas. After Milt was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army, he worked for Humble Oil Company and he and Phyllis moved frequently with the job. They eventually wound up in San Antonio, Texas, where they had three children: Pamela (Grant Lewis), Sandra Stuller and Milton “Bud” N. Mayr Jr. (Karen Brubaker).
In June 1962, Milt came to Fairbanks to help his brother, Herbert Mayr, who owned the Triangle gas station at the intersection of College Road and Illinois Street and Fairbanks’ first auto start business. In August, Phyllis brought the three youngsters up from Texas and they settled in for one of the coldest winters in Fairbanks. Herbert moved his large family back to Texas, but the Milt Mayr family stayed, calling Fairbanks their home.
Milt has always been an avid outdoorsman. He was active in politics and retired from selling real estate. Milt was one of the early members of the Fairbanks Light Opera Theatre and still has a beautiful baritone voice that he shared with the Sacred Heart Cathedral Choir for many years.
The Mayr family traveled the Alaska Highway many times over the years to stay in touch with kin in Texas, who seemed to think the highway only went from north to south. When Milt could not make the trip because of work, Phyllis would pile the kids into the car and make the drive herself. In the 1960s, driving the Alaska Highway was still an adventure quite unto itself.
Phyllis was a Girl Scout leader, an early leader of the Fairbanks Business and Professional Women’s Club and the Credit Managers’ Club. She was the administrative manager for the Fairbanks Clinic for many years before she became the manager of the Division of Motor Vehicles, first in Fairbanks and then in Anchorage, a position from which she retired. She was honored by the Department of Public Safety for being an outstanding manager, quite a feat in a male-dominated department at the time.
Most recently, Phyllis served as an officer of the Pioneers of Alaska, Igloo No. 8. Both Phyllis and Milt volunteered at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital for several years.
The Mayrs moved to Hermiston, Ore., after retirement, but they relocated to Fairbanks in 2004. Their family has grown to include two granddaughters, two grandsons and three great-grandkids. Bud and Karen live in Fulshear, Texas, but all the others are home in Alaska.