Willie L. "Bill" May

Born in Rockingham, NC on December 18, 1920

Departed on January 13, 2015 and resided in Nashville, TN

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Willie L. “Bill” May, Jr., age 94, passed away peacefully on January 13, 2015 in Nashville, TN. He is survived by his daughter, Margy (Tom) M. Hagood, Nashville, TN; son, Willie (Grace) L. “Billy” May, III, Sylva, NC; and three grandchildren, Sarah Hagood, Nashville; Marshall and Gracie May, Sylva. He was preceded in death by his wife, Margaret; parents, Willie L. and Maggie May; and brother, Irwin.

Bill was born December 18, 1920 in Rockingham, NC. After graduating from Rockingham High School, he worked for Carolina Power and Light Co. in Rockingham for several years. He attended North Carolina State University for two years before joining the U.S. Army in 1944 where he was stationed in Italy until 1946. In August 1947, he married Margaret E. Liles. He returned to NC State and graduated with an Engineering degree in 1948 while Margaret worked in the registrar’s office. For the next 39 years, he was employed with Union Carbide Inc. in the International Division and traveled all over the world overseeing construction and start up of battery plants. For many years, he and his family lived in Brazil, Singapore, Mexico, Argentina and the Philippines, before returning to Cleveland, Ohio in 1977. Bill continued to travel the globe while Margaret, Margy and Billy remained in Cleveland, OH. Upon retirement in 1987, Bill and Margaret moved back to their home state and settled in Southern Pines, NC.

Bill was never one to sit idle for too long, he joined Carbide retirees, Kiwanis, played golf, volunteered at Weymouth Gardens, enjoyed his condo at the beach and continued to travel abroad. Bill and Margaret were members of the United Methodist Church in Southern Pines, NC and both were active members until her death in October 2003 and Bill moved to Nashville, TN in 2011.

Margy and Billy extend their sincere appreciation to Bill’s longtime caregivers, Margaret Sirleaf and Ayla Dumont, for their loving care and companionship with Bill over the past several years. And to Dr. Bruce Richards, Internal and Geriatric Medicine, Nashville, for his attentive care.

A memorial service will be held later this Spring at the United Methodist Church in Southern Pines. Memorials may be made to the United Methodist Church of Southern Pines, 175 Midland Rd., Southern Pines, NC 28387.

8 Comments to Mr. Willie L. "Bill" May

  1. Charlotte Doyle
    January 19, 2015 8:54 pm

    my deepest sympathy to you and your family, Margy. No matter the situation or their age we late never ready to let them go. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

  2. Judy Krueger
    January 21, 2015 9:00 am

    Your Dad was such a special man and such an important part of my family for many years…..as you know, he and Margaret became my surrogate parents and grandparents to my kids…. you and Billy were always their older siblings next door! I cherish those wonderful times and memories. I am grateful for their presence in my life and miss them very much. Thanks for sharing them and so much of yourselves. My love and condolences to you and yours. I am so sorry for your loss.

  3. doris ayla dumont
    January 21, 2015 9:03 pm

    GOING TO SEE BILL ON WEEKENDS ALWAYS STRETCHED MY IMAGINATION WHERE CAN WE GO THAT MAKES HIM SMILE ? FIRST IT WAS MOVIES AND THE PARK. AS HIS ILLNESS PROGRESSED WE SPENT TIME AT THE LAKE IN CENTENNIAL PARK, HIM SITTING IN THE SUN SMOKING HIS CIGAR, TALKING TO ALL COMERS. ESPECIALLY CHILDREN AND ALL DOGS.EVEN TOWARDS THE END WE WERE ABLE TO GO INTO THE LOVELY SUNROOM AT THE mEADOWS. HE WAS VERY DEAR TO ME , BUT HE WAS READY TO MOVE ON. MUCH LOVE TO ALL OF YOU ayla

  4. Diane Hinds
    January 22, 2015 4:00 am

    I have spoken privately to Margie but I also wanted to leave a note for the rest of the family/ I enjoyed seeing and talking to Bill so very much. He was a wonderful conversationalist and we could talk for a long while. He was a fascinating man who would answer your questions with precision and knowledge and always inserting a bit of humor in every story he told. I first met Bill when Margy brought him to our home when we were entertaining the wine tasting group. He fit right in and seemed to enjoy the evenings with the group very much. I know he enjoyed living with Tom, Margy and Sarah and they loved having him with them too. They took excellent care of Bill and I know he was very appreciative of their efforts. I was shocked when I talked to Margy and Bill had broken his hip and in true Bill fashion decided not to have the surgery. He expressed a desire to just take the pain meds and not put himself and others through the surgery. I was also shocked when I learned that he was much worse off than I had thought originally. While giving Margy my unsolicited nursing advice, she told me that he was not eating or drinking and that she thought the end was near. I had a hard time accepting that because to me he was larger than life and I could not picture Bill in this way. Within a couple days she shared the news that he had slipped away. You know Bill was, and I am assuming, an always take charge man. It doesn’t surprise me at all that he went out just the way he wanted….in control of his own destiny and surrounded by those he loved. It appeared to me that Bill always loved life. I know how deeply the family will miss Bill and I can only offer my love to each of them as they mourn Bill. I know you are flying high Bill and I know you are feeling just as happy as can be. For you had one heck of a life! Thank you for sharing just a small part of it with me.

  5. Jim Fisher
    January 23, 2015 11:16 pm

    It was my honor to work with Bill for a short period of time in the 80’s. The listing of his wide-ranging work with Union Carbide/Eveready brings back fond memories. The Bill that I knew was a fine man and an inspiration to my generation of battery makers. I am not surprised to hear that he continued to live a full life in retirement.

  6. Sharon Furlong
    January 25, 2015 6:29 pm

    Condolences to Margy, Bill, and their families. Your dad was a good man who lived a good life.

  7. Donald S Radley
    January 26, 2015 1:51 am

    As an ex Carbider who spent many years in Africa, I well remember the several visits that Bill made to our Battery Plants.

    Always cheerful and ready to impart his vast knowledge, he was always welcome.

    My sincere condolences to all the family

    Donald S. Radley
    Pafos Cyprus.

    Ex Everesdy Plants in Ghana Kenya and Sudan

  8. Thomas Moran
    January 27, 2015 10:00 am

    I had the opportunity to work with Bill in Red Oak, Iowa and then again in the Rocky River office in Ohio. Bill was the “Gentleman’s Gentleman.” Loved the International travel and always enjoyed working with the oversees organizations from around the world. He was a good friend.
    The One and only individualI I have ever known that committed history and forward planning on 3 X 5 cards. I recall when I was about to make a trip to Mexico City he asked me buy a pendant for him. He handed me a drawing with a detail map as to where the shop was to make the purchase. Both on 3 X 5 cards which he pulled out of a box from his last visit 4 yrs. before. I really enjoyed working with Bill as well as getting to know the family.
    Tom Moran

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