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Mauerstetten, 25.01.2023

Saying goodbye to Fritz Mayr

With a very touching funeral service, the family-owned company Mayr power transmission from Mauerstetten said goodbye to former CEO Fritz Mayr.
Saying goodbye to Fritz Mayr

With a very touching funeral service, the family-owned company Mayr power transmission from Mauerstetten said goodbye to former CEO Fritz Mayr. The entrepreneur, brilliant engineer and visionary not only played a decisive role in developing power transmission technology worldwide, but was also a very special man who stood by his values. On 18.01.23, at the age of 96 and after more than half a century as CEO, he passed away.

“He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.” This Psalm (1:3) was chosen by the Protestant pastor Barbara Röhm from Kaufbeuren to describe Fritz Mayr, the former CEO of the renowned family business Mayr power transmission, and to comfort the bereaved. Together with Julius Kreuzer, the pastor of the Catholic parish community of Mauerstetten-Stöttwang, she conducted the Service of the Word as part of the very moving funeral service on Tuesday, 24.01.2023. Even though his work has obviously borne fruit for everyone, which will continue to exist in his family and his successful company with all employees beyond his death, the person Fritz Mayr will be missed. So of course, many people wished to express their sincere condolences: Approximately 600 guests – family, friends, companions, employees, business partners, representatives from business, politics and society – bade him a dignified farewell at the communications center. Managing Director Christian Illig explained the choice of this location for the funeral services in his eulogy: “This building was his – one of his visions. He once said: With this communication center, we create a place to meet, a place of direct communication from person to person, in contrast to today's often anonymous communication via the Internet and social media. So today, we are all gathered here – in person at the site – to bid him farewell, to pay our last respects.”

The musicians Steffen Mohr (piano) and Georg Hiemer (trumpet) as well as the ensemble Camerata Bavarese with Klaus Hampl (clarinet), Sigi Schwab (guitar), Heiko Jung (bass) and Magnus Dauner (percussion) provided the fitting musical backdrop for the farewell ceremony.

Deeply moving and emotional was the moment when Korbinian Mayr-Kennerknecht, grandson of Fritz Mayr and author of the company biography “Hidden Champion” (published in 2022) retraced his grandfather’s life in his eulogy. He even succeeded in making the audience in mourning smile at several points with apt quotations from his grandfather. Even though Fritz Mayr's early years and youth were anything but funny: Fritz Mayr, born in Kaufbeuren in 1926, spent his early childhood and youth in Berlin during the Weimar Republic. The early 1930s were troubled times that culminated in the Nazi takeover and eventually World War II. For Fritz Mayr this meant being a “Gassenjunge”, a “Pimpf”, in the Hitler Youth, then Reich Labor Service, fighting as a mountain infantry soldier on the Eastern Front and ultimately being a Russian prisoner of war, from which he eventually returned as a so-called “OK man” (short for: man without strength). A year in hospital followed; but during this time he already started his mechanical engineering studies - from his hospital bed. War is a senseless waste, was Fritz Mayr's conviction.

Sr. Johanna Höldrich, the Mother Superior of the Crescentia Monastery in Kaufbeuren, thanked Fritz Mayr in her obituary for his friendship and connection with the monastery. She described him as a confident, energetic and strong man, who even in the end, despite his old age, never seemed weak. 

Fritz Mayr was a passionate entrepreneur who always looked to the future. Pragmatic and unbureaucratic. "He did whatever was necessary and useful at the time," said Managing Director Christian Illig.

At the same time, Fritz Mayr was also a dedicated engineer. “The technology and products were more important to him than finances and making quick profits; stability and security were his core values.” A boss who cared deeply about his employees and their families. Who allowed others to do their job and rejoiced in their success. Who succeeded in generating continuous growth at all locations worldwide. And Christian Illig concludes by saying: “What remains is a unique and successful company that Fritz Mayr has passed on to the next generation, into very capable hands. What remains is the memory of a great person who will be missed deeply. He will forever be a role model to us.”

Following the funeral service, Fritz Mayr was escorted by an impressive funeral procession from the company to his final resting place at the cemetery in Mauerstetten. As the burial at the cemetery had been announced as the public part of the funeral, many more mourners waited there to pay their last respects. The Mayr Combo with Herbert Ried as conductor and the Musikkapelle Mauerstetten provided the musical framework for the funeral procession and the solemn burial. There were also a number of moving obituaries at the graveside: by Martin Hämmerle, Chairman of the Works Council of Mayr power transmission, Armin Holderried, Mayor of Mauerstetten, Maria Rita Zinnecker, District Administrator of the region Ostallgäu, Alexander Müller from the Mountain Troops and Christoph Dropmann, Head of Research and Development and member of the Executive Board of Mayr power transmission. Ferdinand Mayr spoke the closing words and expressed his heartfelt gratitude to his grandfather and the attending congregation of mourners. “Grandpa, I'm happy to follow in your oh-so-big footsteps. The beautiful thing is that all those who accompany me also still have space.”

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