Bert May, a man who loved God, honored his Mother and Father, faithful to his Family, served his Country, and always respected and helped his neighbor entered into his heavenly rest on March 4. He was 77 and residing in Oak Ridge, Tennessee with his son's family.
Bert was born to Frank and Dorothy Frederick May on Donaldson Road in Washington, Indiana. He was raised on a farm with three older sisters (Alice, Doris and Joyce) and one younger brother (Jim) where he learned the values of family.
Bert graduated Jefferson Grade School in 1954 and graduated from Washington High School in 1958 where he was an outstanding track athlete. In the summer between his junior and senior year, he spent 13 weeks at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, TX for basic training in the Air National Guard. He was station at the 113th Tactical Fighter Squadron in Terre Haute, IN. In 1961 his unit was summoned by President John F. Kennedy to take a supportive role during the Berlin Crisis being stationed at an Air Base in Chambly, France. In 1963 he was HONORABLY discharged from the Air National Guard.
From 1959 - 1966 Bert worked for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O). He began as a student operator working at different locations between East St. Louis, IL and Cincinnati, OH; always at the will of the company. Because of his quality of work and his dependability, he quickly moved up to Agent/Operator training student operators at 26 stations from O'Fallen, IL. to Storrs Jct., OH.
In 1966 he began his 34 year tenure at Otis Elevator in Bloomington, IN. retiring in July of 2000.
In 1974 he resumed his military service by enlisting in the Army National Guard in Bloomington, IN.
In 1978 he transferred to the Army Reserve. He served in various roles while in the Army, but none were as fun to him as being a Drill Sergeant with "Charlie-2-3" at Fort Nix, New Jersey. In 1989 he was HONORABLY discharged from the United States Army Reserve with the rank Sergeant First Class.
Bert started his family in November of 1962 with his marriage to Diana S. Widdows; the daughter of a B&O Roadmaster Russell Widdows. They shared the birth of Robert in February 1964 and Rebecca in May 1965. Bert's value for family can be clearly seen in how his son and daughter care for their own families.
Photography was a hobby that he truly enjoyed. He captured moments while in France, Germany, Libya, Italy, Newfoundland, Iceland, Bermuda and the Azore Islands. Though he took pictures while overseas in the Armed Forces, nothing gave him greater joy than capturing moments with his children and family.
After a divorce he re-married Sondra Abbitt. He faithfully loved and supported her and her two children Ann and Danny. Sondra passed in October 2004, after 31 years together.
Some of Bert's Military Commendations include a National Emergency Service Medal awarded by Governor Matthew Welsh, NCO Professional Development Ribbon, Army Achievement Medal, and numerous other meritorious awards for excellence in the execution of duty.
Bert was preceded in death by his father Frank May and mother Dorothy May, sister Alice May, first wife Diana, and wife Sondra.
Bert's immediate family survivors are as follows: sister Doris McGrath, sister Joyce and Brother-in-Law (Faithful, loyal and best friend) Tom Babbs, brother Jim May.
Children listed by family: Son Robert May with wife JoAnn J. May, grandson (best buddies) John R. May and grand-daughter (sweet kisses) Zoe Catherine May. Daughter Rebecca S. Diaz, grand-daughter Leslie K. Diaz with great-grandsons Jaylen and Jordon, grandson Army veteran David W. Diaz II, grandson Airforce Senior Airman Anthony V. Diaz.
The family will receive friends for visitation from 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m., and at 10:00 a.m. the Celebration of Life service on Saturday, March 18, at Grace Baptist Church in Washington, IN. The address is 418 East Highland Ave, Washington, IN 47501. Immediately following the service there will be a procession to New Veale Creek Cemetery for the graveside and Military Honors.
Family and friends of Bert May would like to express our gratitude and heartfelt thanks to Pastor Louis and Wanita Showers and the congregation of Grace Baptist Church for opening their hearts, arms and doors to allow our family to celebrate and honor Bert's life.
Published on March 12, 2017