Jack Clifford May




Jack C. May

Jack Clifford May passed away peacefully surrounded by his loving family, on Dec. 25, 2011 after a courageous battle with progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), a rare brain disorder.

Born in Seattle on April 7, 1936, Jack was the first child of the late Louise and Clifford May of Bremerton, WA. He lived during his formative years in Kitsap County until the family moved to La Quinta, CA and then later to Manhasset, NY on Long Island.

During this time, and throughout his life, Jack was a role model, mentor and endless source of inspiration to his younger brother and sister.

While in Manhasset, Jack excelled at track, wrestling and football, graduating with the class of 1954. After graduation, Jack and his family returned to Washington State where his parents would reestablish their home and business.

Jack attended Washington State University and graduated in 1959, vice president of his class. After graduation, he enlisted in the United States Army where he served proudly and honorably throughout his tour of duty in Rothwesten, Germany. Stationed near Kassel, Jack met and married his loving wife Roswitha in 1962. After his discharge in 1963, the young couple settled in Washington State raising two sons, Thomas and Christopher.

Upon leaving the active military, Jack secured employment as a buyer for Frederick & Nelson in Seattle and during his eighteen-year career with the retailer was promoted to the head of numerous departments.

After leaving Frederick & Nelson, Jack founded a manufacturers representative company, The J R May Company, selling to specialty toy and gift markets and serving the western states and Alaska.

While successfully running his company, Jack enlisted in the Army Reserves and became an integral part of the 361st Psychological Operations (PSYOP) Company in Bothell, WA. His service in the reserves took him to Thailand, Laos, Korea and Japan. Attaining the rank of First Sergeant while in the reserves, Jack deeply cherished the opportunities that coincided with his military service, particularly the chance to guide and nurture others. And his retirement came with great reluctance.

Jack and Roswitha


Jack was a loyal, loving husband and father who enjoyed family camping, hiking and music, Spanish guitar in particular. He was involved with the Boy Scouts of America and taught his sons the value of good citizenship and service toward others. His example of self-discipline remained ever-present and consistent throughout every aspect of his life, maintaining excellent physical fitness and a strong, positive mental attitude even throughout his illness. He encouraged and supported his wife in all her activities and the two of them shared an active and happy social life together. Through the years, Jack remained a loyal supporter of his school and military reunions and held the relationships of family and friends above all else.

After his death, a program was found from a concert he had attended at Northwest Christian College.  On the back, he had written paraphrased notes from II Corinthians 8:7, revealing ideals he identified with, lived with and shared with others. Jack wrote: “Excellence in all things; faith, speech, knowledge, love… giving.”


Jack was deeply loved and leaves behind his wife Roswitha, sons Thomas May, Christopher May (Jennifer) and grandsons Steven Cody Stivers (Kristen) and Tillman May.

Jack is also survived by his loving brother and sister, Dan May (Sue) and Nancy Rogers (Richard), and will be greatly missed by four nieces and nephews as well as countless friends and extended family.


Jack will be remembered with military honors at Tahoma National Cemetery – 18600 Southeast 240th. St., Kent, WA – on Friday, January 20, 2012 at 11:15 AM. A celebration of Jack’s life will follow.


In lieu of flowers the family requests remembrances be made to:

“Donate to the Wounded Warrior Project”


Arrangements are under the direction of Barton Family Funeral Service: 11630 N.E. Kirkland, WA, 425-823-1900

Online condolences may be entered below:

7 Responses to “Jack Clifford May”

  • Sally Cushman says:

    thank you

  • Ben and Charlotte Pedersen says:

    Dear May Family, It was with sadness that we heard of Jack’s passing. We’ve many fond memories of Jack and family at holiday family dinners at Seabeck (Maytide). Jack was an extraordinary individual and we respected him greatly. Please accept our deepest sympathy and God Bless you. Ben and Charlotte Pedersen

  • Dawn Horner & Family says:


    Our thoughts and prayers are with you, Jack was a wonderful man.

    All our love,

    Dawn, Greg & Family

  • Angie Grosvenor Hansen says:

    Dear Ross, Tom and Chris,
    As you know, Jack was one of the “good ones” A dear soul to all who knew them. My life is better every day for all I learned by his example. My heart goes out…

  • Don and Dodie Erickson says:

    Dear Ros and family,

    Jack was the straight arrow, who set the bar high for all of us. We have never known a man of such great integrity. Jack could always be counted on to do the “right thing” and we all profited from that. We will miss him dearly but know that he has earned the right to a better place. Go in peace, Jack.

  • Karie Storle says:

    Dear Ros and family,
    Jack was the best of the best always had a smile and willing to help. He will be missed by some but loved by all.

    Love Karie Storle

  • Kathy Abrams says:

    Dear Ros and Family,
    Oh, I am so sorry. I have thought about you so often and finally, after many years, sat to take the time to find how to contact you… to find out about Jack. I will remember both of you as you are in your wedding picture. He was wonderful and you both were so lucky to have found each other.
    Love, Kathy Abrams, Anna and Richard Hofstetter

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