LUMBERTON — Jan Maynor knew what Friday nights in the fall meant for her husband Leon Maynor.
“That Friday night fever never got out of him. He was like a wolf,” Jan said. “If the moon was full on a Friday night, he had to be watching somebody call ball somewhere on a field. We went to a lot of games.”
Maynor co-founded the Southern Officials Association in 1976, which provided officiating coverage to athletic events in Robeson County. On Tuesday at Bill Sapp Recreation Center before a meeting of its officials, the association recognized their late founder with a plaque given to his wife Jan commending his 42 years of service.
“If you had known Leon for more than a day, you know he would want to tell you something,” Jan said. “He would want to tell you he would appreciate this. Leon had your back and you had his back because there was a bond between y’all that I was a little envious of at how much you cared for what you did, and you cared about doing a good job.
“They knew how much he cared about them as individuals, and how much he cared about the job.”
Anthony Maynor, a local official who works with the organization presented the plaque to Maynor’s wife of 15 years.
“I wanted to do something special for Mr. Leon, and for Jane in honor of Leon,” Anthony Maynor said. “I had this plaque made from the Southern Officials Association.”
The association also announced that officials will wear a patch with his initials on their sleeve this season in honor or Maynor.
Leon Maynor, along with the help of R. Dean Hunt, Vann Sampson and Tom Taylor, started the officiating organization. Up until his death on July 2, Maynor oversaw the scheduling of officials to middle school and recreation sporting events. He also served on the Lumberton City Council.
For Maynor, his job wasn’t about making the right call with balls and strikes or throwing a flag on the gridiron.
“It was so much more than calling ball,” Jan said. “He loved kids so much and his memorial is a scholarship fund at our church and a project with the partnership for children here.
“Leon always had a good time, and it was more than just winning or losing. It was life lessons.”
Roger Chavis was one of the first officials in the organization.
“Leon drafted me into it, right after I came out of high school,” Chavis said. “It means a lot to us. … I’ve had a great time. Leon and those older guys taught me a lot, like the fundamentals of the game.”
The lessons that Maynor taught Chavis at a young age is something he still carries with him into his 42nd year of officiating sporting events.
“He always wanted you to be on time, and your shoes to be clean and your uniform clean,” Chavis said. “He wanted us to be out there for the kids, that’s what it’s all about.
“He was a great guy, you couldn’t ask for a better guy.”
Jonathan Bym can be reached at 910-816-1977 or by email at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @Jonathan_Bym.