|Herbert Earl Mayfield|
December 20, 1920|
Erick, Beckham County, Oklahoma, USA
May 29, 2008 (aged 87)|
|Residence||Dimmitt, Castro County, Texas|
|Spouse(s)||Dorothy McLain Mayfield (born 1931; married 1952 – his death)|
Bryan C. Mayfield
(1) Herb Mayfield is remembered for his musical talents with the Mayfield Brothers, but he earned his living as a welder for cattle feedlots in West Texas.
(2) Mayfield was active in civic affairs in his adopted hometown of Dimmitt, Texas, having been president of the rodeo association and a member of the fair board.
Herbert Earl Mayfield (December 20, 1920 – May 29, 2008) was a bluegrass musician and a member of the Mayfield Brothers band of West Texas. Playing the mandolin and the guitar, Mayfield played alongside his brothers, Thomas Edd Mayfield and Arlie V. "Smokey" Mayfield.
In the late 1940s, the Mayfield Brothers were warmup musicians in Lubbock and Amarillo for Tennessee Ernie Ford, Maddox Brothers and Rose, Hank Snow, and other Country groups.
Mayfield was born in Erick in Beckham County in southwestern Oklahoma to William Fletcher Mayfield (died 1952), and the former Penelope Drake (died 1937). In January 1931, he moved with his family to Dimmitt, the seat of Castro County near Lubbock. He graduated from Dimmitt High School and was awarded a basketball scholarship to college. During World War II, Mayfield served in the United States Army Air Corps, the forerunner to the Air Force. He participated in troop movements during the Normandy invasion and the Battle of the Bulge, in which his brother Smokey also fought.
All of the Mayfield family played musical instruments, beginning with the mandolin. Herbert Mayfield recalled rushing from his ranch chores to devote time to practicing music.
Marriage and later life
In 1951, Mayfield married the former Dorothy McLain in Hart in Castro County. Active in community affairs, he was a former president of the Dimmitt Rodeo Association and was a member of the Fair Board. He was also affiliated with the Panhandle Blue Grass Association. He was Baptist. Two weeks prior to Mayfield's death, the International Blue Grass Museum in Owensboro, Kentucky, interviewed him in Dimmitt in preparation for a forthcoming documentary on the Mayfield musical family.
For much of his adult life, Mayfield was a welder for cattle feedlots. He and his wife supported student scholarships for those pursuing the study of Bluegrass music at South Plains College in Levelland west of Lubbock. South Plains honored Herbert and Smokey Mayfield in a special ceremony in 1989 as pioneers of Bluegrass music. Susan Dailey, the recipient of a Mayfield scholarship in 1993, recalled Mayfield as "an inspiration to me as a mandolin student.... The stories of his early musical years on the [Green Valley] ranch also fascinated me as a musician and as a visual artist.... I feel fortunate to have been acquainted with Herb. He was a wonderful man.... "
Mayfield died of renal failure in an Amarillo hospital. Months later, his brother Smokey died of a heart attack, a complication from neuropathy. Edd Mayfield died of leukemia in 1958 at the age of thirty-two in Bluefield, West Virginia, while he was on tour with Bill Monroe. Services for Herb Mayfield were held on June 1, 2008, at the First Baptist Church of Dimmitt. Burial was in Hart Cemetery in Hart.
- Herbert E. Mayfield obituary, in Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, June 1, 2008.
- Susan Dailey, Herbert Mayfield Guest Book, Colonial Funeral Home, Dimmitt, Texas, June 2, 2008:http://www.colonialfuneralhome.org/sitemaker/sites/coloni0/obit.cgi?user=herbert-mayfield=
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