Jan. 24, 2008--Vincent L. "Winnie" Mayer, 98, a member of the University of Delaware Athletics Hall of Fame and holder of a UD Medal of Distinction died Jan. 18.
Born in 1909 in Frogtown, Md., Mr. Mayer attended the University of Delaware, where he became a notable athlete, winning three letters in football from 1930-32 and leading the Blue Hens to the Class B Eastern Title in 1931. He also was a standout baseball player and received a letter in that sport in 1931.
After graduating from UD in 1933 with a bachelor's degree in agriculture, Mr. Mayer worked on his family's dairy farm before establishing his own landscaping firm. He continued in professional landscaping for the rest of his career and designed several regional grounds and parks, including All Saints and Cathedral cemeteries. Additionally, he worked as a state extension agent for many years and managed the Mayer family farm on Elkton Road.
Throughout his life, Mr. Mayer remained a Blue Hens supporter. He was the founder of the Newark Touchdown Club and until recently attended all home and away football games, where he and his wife, Jean, were known in the stands.
In 1989, he was named to Delaware's All-Time football team and, in 1997, was inducted into the inaugural class of the Athletics Hall of Fame. A lifetime community leader, Mr. Mayer was honored in 2001 with the University of Delaware Medal of Distinction for his significant contributions to Delaware sports and to the community. The award is the highest honor the University gives to citizens of the state and region who have made humanitarian, cultural, intellectual or scientific contributions to society.
Additionally, Mr. Mayer was honored for his outstanding athletic career in May 2007, when he was named to the Delaware Sports Hall of Fame.
He again became a local celebrity and made headlines in 2005 after using his wife's cane to fend off an intruder who smashed a window of his home and made off with some cash. At the time of his death, Mr. Mayer was a member of the Newark Country Club and a former member of the Newark Rotary Club.
Survivors include Mr. Mayer's brother, Eric G. Mayer of Newark, and several nieces and nephews.
A funeral mass was held on Jan. 23 at St. John the Baptist Church in Newark, Del., followed by interment in All Saints Cemetery in Wilmington, Del.
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