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Henry (Hank) Mayer, former owner of H.C. Mayer & Sons Inc., now Mayer Distributing, built the first McDonald's in Wayzata.

Mayer, known as an oil entrepreneur, died Sunday of natural causes at Trevilla of Golden Valley. He was 98.

He started in the oil business in the late 1920s. He worked for Standard Oil after leaving his father's farm east of Hudson, Wis. In the early 1930s, he was transferred to the Wayzata station, where he worked as a dealer operator, said his son, Jack Mayer of St. Louis Park.

In the 1940s, he bought a filling station while still working for Standard. When his administrators found out, they wanted him to sell it. Instead, he quit working for Standard after 20 years and went into business for himself.

He later bought oil distributorships in Eden Prairie, Mound, Excelsior and other places. In 1970, he bought Loven Brothers in Medina and a year later, sold it to his oldest son, Donald Mayer of Monticello, Minn.

Randy Mayer of Plymouth said his grandfather practiced sound business.

"He thought everything out before he made a move," he said. "He showed me the values of work: an honest day's pay for an honest day's work."

In the 1960s, he owned about a quarter of a square mile of land that abutted Minnetonka, but decided to have it annexed to Wayzata because he felt he would have easier access to its services, said Jack Mayer. His decision influenced other land owners.

David Mayer of Wayzata said his father was a "good dad."

"Dad was an aggressive businessman," he said. "He was a hard worker and he was an honest man. He worked every day.


In addition to his sons and grandson, Hank Mayer he is survived by his wife, Gladys; a brother, Edwin of Sarasota, Fla.; a sister, Gertrude Armstrong of Minneapolis; 12 other grandchildren, and 17 great-grandchildren.

Services will be held at 2 p.m. today at the Calvary Lutheran Church of Golden Valley, 7520 Golden Valley Rd.