Dr. Kenneth P. May, 70 of Westfield, was called home Tuesday, December 10, 2019 after a sudden and brief illness. Ken's visitation will be from 4:00-8:00 PM Friday December 13th, at Gray Funeral Home, 318 E. Broad St., Westfield. His funeral service will begin at 11:00 AM Saturday December 14, 2019 at The Presbyterian Church in Westfield. Interment will follow later in the Revolutionary Cemetery, Westfield. Please go to: www.grayfuneralhomes.com to offer condolences.
Ken was born on March 7, 1949 in Plainfield, NJ, and was predeceased by his parents, Ruth Irene May (nee Miska) and Raymond A. May and his brother Albert W. May. He grew up in Roselle, N.J., and was President of the Abraham Clark High School Class of 1967 where he was an athlete and musician. He worked full-time while attending Newark State College (now Kean University), and earned his Bachelor's and Master's Degrees in Mathematics Education. He was very active in Sigma Beta Tau. He later continued his graduate studies and earned his Doctor of Education from Seton Hall University.
Dr. May was a professional educator and administrator whose career spanned 48 years. He began his career in 1971, and worked as a Math Teacher, Math Department Head, K-12 Supervisor, and most recently as Vice-Principal and Principal at South Plainfield High School (SPHS) from 1987 until his retirement in 2010. His efforts in South Plainfield led to the school earning a prestigious Blue Ribbon designation. During his career, he also coached football, soccer, basketball, and track in three districts â Scotch Plains, Rahway and Westwood-Washington Schools.
Dr. Kenneth P. May was a visionary and a man ahead of his time. Before the concept of the STEM initiative, which is currently sweeping the country, he prioritized science and technology education. His focus on the future ensured his students were prepared to meet the needs of a changing society. Further, Dr. May was associated with NASA, and co-presented workshops in the Greater and Lesser Antilles, Alaska, and South Western American states with NASA scientists.
Upon retirement from SPHS, he became a clinical instructor through Kean University and supervised student teachers in the Plainfield Public School District. Thousands of students have benefited from Dr. May's expertise through his development of new education models designed to prepare those who teach 21st century students. In 2019, Dr. May received the prestigious Jean Harris Award from the North/Central New Jersey District #7475 of Rotary International at their Annual Assembly in May for his lifetime contributions to education locally, nationally, and internationally.
At the Presbyterian Church in Westfield, Ken was an active volunteer and served on the Personnel Commission and the Cemetery Committee. Frequently, Ken could be found across the street from the church walking through the Burial Grounds of The Presbyterian Church in the West Fields of Elizabethtown looking at the old headstones, but also for ways to improve the appearance of the cemetery. He was always willing to bring his chain saw to trim the trees, or a shovel to move some dirt so the area would look neat, tidy, and well cared for.
Ken was a supporter of The Boy Scouts in general, and, more specifically, Troop 72 located at The Presbyterian Church. His grandson, Henry, is a troop member, and Ken accompanied them last June on their annual Summer Camp trip to Erincliff Island in Canada.
Ken had an infectious personality with the uncanny ability to connect with anyone and brighten any room. Helping others was his calling and gave him great joy. First and foremost, Ken was a family man. He loved nothing more than to spend time with his children and grandchildren.
Ken is survived by his loving wife: Sarah L. "Sally" May, son: Gregory Kenneth May and his wife: Brooke, daughter: Jillianne May Strus and her husband: Mark, daughter: Ellen Thompson, 7 Grandchildren: Henry, Madelyn, Spencer, and William May, Harrison and Liam Strus, Jackson Portnoff, brother: Ronald May and his wife: Judy, sister-in-law: Eileen May, and many nieces and nephews. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to: The Presbyterian Church in Westfield, www.westfieldpc.org/give, or the Congenital Heart Defects Coalition, www.chdcoalition.org.