William James May, Sr., age 99, a longtime Conrad resident died January 21, 2018.
He was born November 18, 1918 in Bridgeport, Connecticut, the seventh of nine children to Patrick J. and Anastasia G. Brennan May, natives of Ireland. Following graduation from Warren G. Harding High School in 1936 he was employed as a technician in the Metallurgy Department of the Bridgeport Brass Company, and was assistant supervisor of the Physical Testing Laboratory when he enlisted in the Navy during World War II, serving as a first-class petty officer in minesweeping plan operations at the Caribbean Sea Frontier Base. Following military discharge, he was employed in the Public Service Research Department of the Chicago Tribune while attending the Gregg College Division of Northwestern where he was a member of the Delta Sigma Tau Fraternity. Upon completion of his studies in Chicago he was appointed Official Court Reporter for the Ninth Judicial District of the State of Montana comprising Pondera, Teton, Glacier and Toole Counties, in February of 1950, establishing residence in Conrad. He served in that capacity for 35 years, retiring in 1985 with the distinction of having served longer than any elected or appointed official in those four counties. When he retired and on two previous occasions he was publicly honored by the Ninth Judicial District Bar Association for his dedicated services.
Bill and Elizabeth L. Clavin were married in St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Conrad on September 24, 1951. Active in community affairs, he served as a past Secretary Treasurer of the Conrad Lions Club, was a charter member of the original Conrad Jaycees, a past twelve-year member of the Board of Trustees of the Conrad Public Library, and served eight years as an elected trustee of Conrad School District 10 and as chairman when Prairie View School was constructed and additions made to Conrad High School during the missile crisis, also serving as a member of the Advisory Panel for the Conrad-Great Falls College Center. In addition to his duties as Ninth Judicial District Court Reporter, he served as Pondera County Justice of the Peace from 1964 to 1973 and as deputy City of Conrad Magistrate. He also was elected Pondera County Public Administrator serving multiple two-year terms. Following retirement as a court reporter he served the Pondera County District Court as bailiff and as a Guardian ad Litem. He was a member of the National Court Reporters Association and a past president of the Montana Court Reporter's Association and editor of its publication. A member of St. Michael's Catholic Church in Conrad since 1950, he was active in parish affairs and taught Christian Doctrine at the junior and senior high school level for several years. He was a member of the VFW and American Legion Posts in Conrad, Pondera Arts Council, Pondera History Association and the Knights of Columbus.
He cherished his Catholic Faith and practiced it with devotion in daily life, and enjoyed gathering with friends and associates of other faiths in attending the annual Ecumenical Lenten luncheon series held at the Presbyterian, Lutheran and Catholic churches.
An avid reader, he enjoyed traveling, gardening and raising roses, walking, bird watching and feeding, and in earlier years pheasant and duck hunting with his English Springers as well as fly fishing on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation with his sons. For years he was a familiar figure riding his red bike around town and the countryside. He enjoyed the time spent recreating with family in Glacier Park and Whitefish area. Extremely proud of his Irish heritage, he traveled in Ireland and enjoyed a profound love and appreciation for its history, music and literature, and was honored to be selected as the grand marshal in the last official St. Patrick’s Day parade held in Conrad. A Connecticut Yankee transplanted to the Big Sky Country, for many years he traveled back to New England to enjoy the colorful fall foliage and a reunion with relatives and friends.
Bill had quite a sense of humor and loved telling stories. He had an incredible mind, was well read with a vast knowledge of many topics, yet always remained unassuming and humble.
He was a wonderful father and provider, showing never ending love and devotion to his four sons. Not just a father figure, he and his sons were best friends. A doting grandfather, he loved his grandchildren with all his might.
Bill spent the last seven years of his life in the Pondera Medical Center Extended Care Unit where he received exceptional care. He and his family were very grateful to all the staff.
Until we meet again, may God hold him in the palm of his hand.
He is survived by sons: Christopher J. May (Frances), Oxnard, CA; Michael B. May (Molly), Spokane, WA; two grandchildren, Michael May (Stefanie), Seattle, WA. and Katie May, Bellingham, WA., sister, Claire May, Bridgeport, CT., and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his wife Betty, sons William Jr, and Patrick, parents, three brothers and four sisters.
Memorial mass, with his son, Pat, will be held Saturday, February 3, at 2:00PM at St. Michael’s Catholic Church.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent in William’s name to the Pondera Medical Center Extended Care Facility Life Enrichment Program, P.O. Box 668, Conrad, MT 59425.