George Noel Mayhew was born February 20, 1897 on a farm near Mt. Airy, Virginia. He was one of seven children born to George Washington Mayhew and Bettie Sue Hodnett Mayhew. He attended the Renan High School and Preparatory Department of Lynchburg College from 1914 to 1918. Upon graduation he attended Lynchburg College where he graduated with an A. B. in 1922. Over the next ten years he attained a M. A. from Vanderbilt University, a B. D. from Yale University and a Ph. D. from the University of Chicago.
His specialty was the field of Oriental religions, but his interests extended from agriculture to zoology. At Yale he was one of thirty-six picked for the first post-war friendship mission to Europe. At the University of Chicago he was awarded the Bateson travel fellowship and later in life traveled widely in Latin America.
He was a state student secretary for the Y. M. C. A. in 1922 and remained strongly allied with Christian youth movements the rest of his life. Mayhew was associate minister at Vine Street Christian Church from 1923-1925 and the dean of the Disciples Foundation at Vanderbilt University from 1927-1936.
George Noel Mayhew taught at Vanderbilt from 1939 to 1950. At the School of Religion Mayhew was active in the Rural Life Institute, the Student Christian Association, and the Disciples of Christ Divinity House. At the School of Religion the style of his instruction, erudite and searching was renowned and often quoted by students.
He was a long-time member of the National Council on Religion in Higher Education, the American Association of University Professors, and the American Civil Liberties Union.
On April 21, 1934 George Noel Mayhew married Beulah McLean Leech, they had no children.
He owned and ran a number of farms, including a citrus farm in Florida where he retired to in the 1950's. At one time he was also president of the McKibbon Universal Wrench Company. This company produced a specialized wrench used in heavy machinery, such as train couplers. The McKibbon Company sold off its assets and folded in 1940.
He died at his home in Florida on August 7, 1965.
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