Joe Ben Mays was the youngest son of Albert Abner Mays and Annie Louisa Spangler of Pickton, Hopkins County, Texas. He grew up in the Pickton area. He enlisted in the U S Army in 1947 and was stationed in the occupation army in Japan and then in the Korean War after it started in June 1950. He stayed in the Army after the war and made it his career and subsequently served two or three tours of duty in Vietnam. He retired from the Army at the rank of Sergeant-Major. He made Arlington, Texas his home until his death. He was married to Margie A. Greer December 15 1951 and was the father of three children.