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A Local Doctor is Remembered

Revered local physician Lewis H. V. May has died.

Lewis H. V. May, a popular physician and former Board member, died Oct. 4. The epitome of an old-time country doctor, he was best known for his down-to-earth, folksy manner.

He was 83. 

"Pete," as he was known, was beloved by the patients he served at his Temple City medical practice from 1957-2008.

An active member of the community at large, May sat on the school board for 12 years, from 1971 to 1983. During part of his tenure on the board, he served a term as its president. May was also very involved with his church, Seventh Day Baptist Church in Riverside. 

Donald Fickas served on the AUSD board with May for 11 years. 

"He held people in charge to a very high standard of good ethical leadership and could look you in the eye and say exactly what he thought," Fickas said of May.

May was born Nov. 20, 1928 to Florene and Homer Harlow May in Salem, WV, a small community nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains.

Like so many of his generation, education and career called him away from the rural town he grew up in.

May began his medical training at Jefferson Medical School in Philadelphia. There, he met a nurse, Nancy, whom he married the day before his 1951 graduation from medical school.

The young couple ventured west, settling first in Sacramento, where May completed his residency. They eventually moved to Southern California so May could set up his Temple City practice, where he gave his unique brand of wise medical counsel to hundreds of patients.

In 1968, May and his wife moved into the home they built on West Wistaria Avenue in Arcadia to raise their four boys: Chip, Cass, Matt and Pete. Neighbors on Wistaria Avenue remember the boys turning a vacant lot into a race course for dune buggies.

"We were a pretty active family," Chip Mays recalled. "We ParaPlaned, we traveled in Mexico through jungle territory on motorcycles, we went camping."

Insatiable travelers, the family has visited nearly every country in the world. 

May's passing sparked an outpouring of tributes from former patients and colleagues.

Patient Alice Tangney cited the stability of the doctor's longtime staff as indicative of the loyalty he showed everyone.

"I think he kept staff members on for years," she said.

Arcadia school board Vice President Joann Steinmeier said she fondly remembers May's efforts on behalf of youths in the elementary grades.

In addition to his wife Nancy, May is survived by sons Chip, Cass, Mathew and Pete, daughters-in-law Penny, Kathi and Karen, and seven grandchildren. May also leaves behind a large cadre of friends, professional associates and patients.

Memorial Services are pending and will take place at the family's church, Seventh Day Baptist Church of Riverside, Ca. An at-home remembrance is also planned.

Natalie Ragus (Editor) October 12, 2011 at 01:17 AM
What, in your opinion, is Dr. May's legacy?
Kathi Millham Faulkner October 12, 2011 at 07:31 PM
Pete was my parents' physician & friend from the early 60's. My Dad always said Pete saved his life after his 1st heart attack in 1969. He passed away in 2002. My Mom was still his patient when he had his stroke. He also delivered both of my nephews. The Millham family offers their most sincere condolences to the May family.
Natalie Ragus (Editor) October 12, 2011 at 08:22 PM
Kathi, thanks for sharing your story. I will be sure to pass this message onto Bill Peters, the writer of this article, who is contact with the May family. Best, Natalie
concerned October 12, 2011 at 09:56 PM
Pete was a really good guy. will always remember his humor. bingo and gino roncelli.
Diane Engelman October 14, 2011 at 10:16 PM
In 1974 my husband and I went to see Dr. May for a second opinion on having a vasectomy. My husband was 32 and I was 30 and we had 2 children 9 and 7 yrs. old. I was unable to take birth control of any kind but we didn't like the seemingly ease of the general public at that time of using this as a form of birth control. We already had 1 local Dr. say fine, he would do it. But I told my husband I wanted the opinion of Dr. May, since he was a Christian and I would have more confidence. We saw Dr. May he was his usual very thoughtful listener, asked us how old we were, how old were our kids, then said "God forbid anything should ever happen to 1 or both of your children, but you are young enough that you could have more children. He said we'd find doctors all over the place that would do this for us, but he would not. He said see me again in a few years and we'll talk again". We felt very good with this decision. In Nov. 1975 I found out I was pregnant with our 3rd child, and he was born 8-7-76. we named him Pete. A few months later we took little Pete in and saw Dr. May again, THANKED HIM VERY MUCH! And my husband said he was definitely ready now for that vasectomy. Dr. May agreed...said 3 is plenty...and he did the vasectomy for us. Today our oldest son is 46 our daughter is 44 and little Pete is 35 and we have 9 grandchildren!! WE WILL ALWAYS LOVE AND NEVER FORGET DR. MAY - he was 1 of a kind. Mel and Diane Engelman Bullhead City, AZ

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