Dr. Robert Earl Mayo was born in Ottawa, Ontario on the 10th of December, 1950. Dr. Mayo was the eldest of 4 children born to Earl Charles Mayo and the former Jessy “Elizabeth” Newcombe. His siblings are; Barbara, Bruce and Bill. His father’s career was spent in the Canadian Armed Services and he retired as a Wing Commander. Mr. Mayo served as a bomber pilot during World War II. Mrs. Mayo was a photographer with the National Research Council of Canada prior to the birth of her children.
Dr. Mayo and his family moved to Vancouver when he was 3 years old, but by the time he started school, the Mayo family was back in Ottawa. Dr. Mayo attended Kindergarten and grades 1 and 2 at Elizabeth Park Public School which was located on the Canadian Forces Base Uplands in Ottawa. (The Canadian Forces Base Uplands was decommissioned in 1996 and most of the land was transferred to the Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport. The Canadian Armed Services still maintains a military presence there and it is now known as the Canadian Forces Support Unit Ottawa).
By the time Dr. Mayo was ready to start grade 3, his father had been transferred to 4 Fighter Wing, the air base located at Baden-Soellingen, Germany. Dr. Mayo attended Rhine Valley Park School which was located on the base for grades 3 through 6. (CFB Baden-Soellingen closed in 1993). In 1962, the Mayo family was back in Ottawa and Dr. Mayo spent the last 2 years of his primary education at J. H. Putnam School, which is located at 20151 Bel-Air Drive.
Dr. Mayo attended Laurentian High School (LHS) and graduated from grade 12 in 1968. (LHS officially closed its doors in 2005 and it was demolished in 2009). Dr. Mayo attended a preparatory year at College Militaire Royal de St. Jean (CMR) in St. Jean, Quebec which was the equivalent of grade 13. During the summer of 1969, he went to Chilliwack, B.C. for Basic Officer Training with the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). Dr. Mayo returned to CMR in St. Jean, Quebec where he completed his 1st and 2nd years of university. In 1971 he transferred to the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ontario for his 3rd and 4th years of university graduating in 1973 with a Bachelor of Engineering (Civil). The summers of 1970 through 1973, were spent training as an Air Navigator at CFB Winnipeg. From 1973 until 1978, Dr. Mayo was a proud member of the Air Element of the Canadian Armed Forces based out of Shearwater, Nova Scotia. He trained as a Tactical Co-Ordinator on Sea King helicopters, which are anti-submarine helicopters deployed from destroyers.
From 1977 until 1978, Dr. Mayo attended Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia part-time upgrading his science curriculum, for he had made a decision to apply to medical school. In 1978 he was discharged from the CAF and he attended Queen’s University School of Medicine, graduating M.D. in 1983.
In the meantime Dr. Mayo had met his wife, the former Evelyn Jessie Elizabeth Brown in Baie Verte, Newfoundland. Dr. Mayo was there as part of his medical training and Mrs. Mayo was working as a registered nurse at the hospital. The town of Baie Verte is located on the Baie Verte Peninsula on the north coast of Newfoundland.
Mrs. Mayo grew up in the village of Springfield in Elgin County. She is the 3rd of 5 children born to Merritt Brown and the former Mary Chambers. Her father owned an appliance store in the village. Her siblings are; Linda, Tom, Paul and Jean. Mrs. Mayo received her RN diploma from the St Joseph’s Hospital School of Nursing in London, Ontario in 1974 and went on to complete a diploma in Public Health from the University of Windsor in 1976. After working as a Public Health Nurse in both Ontario and British Columbia she returned to London in 1980 to begin her BScN at the University of Western Ontario. The summer of 1981 was when she and Dr. Mayo both found themselves in Baie Verte.
Dr. and Mrs. Mayo were married in Springfield on the 22nd of May, 1982. They spent the next year in Kingston. Mrs. Mayo took a year off from her BScN program and worked as an RN at St Mary’s of the Lake Hospital while Dr. Mayo completed his final year at Queen’s University. By June of 1983 they were back in London so Mrs. Mayo could complete her BScN. Dr. Mayo did a Rotating Internship at University Hospital.
In June of 1984, Dr. and Mrs. Mayo moved to St John, New Brunswick where Dr. Mayo did a Family Medicine Residency through Dalhousie University with rotations in hospitals in Moncton, Fredericton and Halifax in addition to Saint John. In January of 1985, their first child, Christopher arrived. On completion of Dr. Mayo’s residency and having become a Certificant of the College of Family Physicians (CCFP), the Mayo family moved to La Scie, Newfoundland, an outport on the Baie Verte Peninsula, approximately 60 km from the hospital in Baie Verte where Dr. and Mrs. Mayo first met. Dr. Mayo practiced in a two doctor clinic affiliated with the hospital. In August of 1987 their second son, Ian was born. After 2 years in La Scie, they moved to St. Anthony which is located on the northern tip of the Northern Peninsula on the west coast of Newfoundland. After 1 year, they decided to move closer to home and in August of 1989 they left bound for Wallaceburg. Within a few weeks of their arrival, their third son Jamie, was born in September of 1989. Dr. Mayo joined the Margaret Avenue Clinic which later evolved into a branch of the Chatham-Kent Family Health Team and moved to 30 McNaughton Avenue in Wallaceburg.
Once their sons were a little older, Mrs. Mayo returned to working in Public Health and not long after began part-time studies to obtain her Masters of Science in Nursing from the University of Western Ontario, which she completed in 1995. She subsequently became a part-time Case Manager with the Community Care Access Centre (CCAC), a position she held until her retirement in about 2010.
Dr. Mayo was at the clinic for 22 years, enjoying the opportunity to practice comprehensive Family Medicine that Wallaceburg provided as a small town with a hospital. For many years this included obstetrics and ended when the program was deemed to be no longer viable in Wallaceburg. He left the clinic in 2011 to focus more on palliative care. He continued to do regular shifts in the emergency department at Sydenham District Hospital until 2015. He had residents at Fairfield Park Nursing Home until December of 2016 and at Sydenham Residence, which later became the Wallaceburg Retirement Residence, until 2019. He was chosen as the Lead Physician at the Chatham-Kent Hospice when it opened its doors in April of 2016 in the City of Chatham, a position he held until his retirement.
Dr. Mayo retired from medicine on the 30th of June, 2019. When he was asked what he thought was the biggest change he had seen in nearly 40 years of medicine, Dr. Mayo replied that it was the introduction of electronic medical records and the almost limitless access to information online. Dr. Mayo enjoyed all aspects of his medical practice in Wallaceburg but drew his greatest satisfaction from working in obstetrics and palliative care.
In 2012, Dr. Mayo received the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance Tri-Board Award for Excellence (Mission – Physician). For his service to the community, Dr. Mayo was selected as the Wallaceburg Citizen of the Year in 1999.
In their retirement, Dr. and Mrs. Mayo love to spend time with their children and grandchildren, all of whom live close-by. They appreciate the increased opportunity retirement affords them to explore the natural beauty of Southwestern Ontario as well as to travel further afield in Canada. In addition, Mrs. Mayo enjoys teaching Seniors Fitness classes and Dr. Mayo enjoys running, swimming and biking.