James Harvey May 1937-2018
James Harvey May, known by many as Jim, entered into rest on the evening of December 20, 2018 at the age of 81. He was born in the home of his grandparents, James and Fannie Chandler on August 30, 1937 in Trenton, Missouri to his parents Ruby Mae (nee Chandler) and Rhoudy Johnson May.
His family relocated to Sacramento when he was four years old and he attended Washington Elementary School and later Grant Union High School. His father worked at McClellan Air Force Base as a civilian worker, while his mother worked at Mercy General Hospital as a dietician.
The first person in his family’s history to obtain a high school degree, he graduated at age 16 from Grant and attended Grant Technical College his first year and stayed at the institution as it was renamed American River College for his second year where he was on the basketball and track teams.
He received a B.S. degree from Stanford University in 1958 in civil engineering, and in 1960 joined the United States Navy where he was stationed first in Las Vegas and later in Northern Ireland. Upon returning to the United States he enrolled at Harvard University where he received a MBA in 1964. He later moved to New York City, during which he also spent time in Osaka, Japan working on engineering projects.
In New York, he and his business partner Richard Kollin founded a publishing company, Pandex, that they later sold to McMillan. He enrolled on the PhD program at Columbia University and ultimately received a PhD in information sciences in 1976.
Also, while living in New York, he met the love of his life and wife for 51 years Margit (nee Roeder), then an executive secretary at the American Arbitration Company, through mutual friends. They would go on to have three children.
Desiring to get back to the west, like many in their generation Jim and Margit eventually made their way out starting from their newlywed apartment in Greenwich Village, with stops in Parkchester in the Bronx, Weehawken, New Jersey and Denver, Colorado before ultimately settling in Sonoma County, California.
Jim worked for several years at Sonoma State University as an associate library director at the Ruben Salazar Library and then was later a dean and provost at California State University, Chico and ultimately was a founding dean at CSU, Monterey Bay.
Upon retirement, Jim brought his life back full circle and moved back to Sacramento in 2003, where he remained for the rest of his life and became a devoted grandfather.
He leaves behind his wife Margit, son James R. May, daughters Tanja Youngs and Anika May. Grandchildren Evan May, Madeleine Yu and Dylan Yu; older brother Floyd May and younger brother Marvin May; sisters Delores Cofer and Naomi Perreira; daughter-in-law Rebecca May and son-in-law Oliver Yu, as well as several nieces and nephews and cousins. Additionally, another grandchild May is on the way and due in February.
He was predeceased in death by his parents, his sister Geraldine May and most tragically, his three-year old grandson Ryan May who died unexpectedly in 2017 and next to whom he will be buried.
To send a flower arrangement or to plant trees in memory of James Harvey May, please click here to visit our Sympathy Store.