Jeffrey H. May passed away on November 1st surrounded by his family after a courageous battle with cholangiocarcinoma. He was 61 years old. Jeff was born in Manhasset NY to Rosalind and Eric May. Jeff loved growing up in Port Washington amidst extended family and remained good friends throughout his life with some of his childhood friends. He attended Union College, and graduated in 1982 and attended Harvard Law School, graduating in 1986.
After a few years in private legal practice at Ropes and Gray in Boston, Jeff transitioned to in-house counsel for General Electric (Aviation and then Plastics Division) and then GE Plastics and its successor SABIC. Jeff focused on employment law. He worked for GE/SABIC in Lynn and Pittsfield Massachusetts for almost 30 years culminating in holding the position of SABIC Director of Global Employment Law. His colleagues recognized his deep knowledge of the law, but will remember him more for the laughter he brought to the workplace and his focus on always trying to treat employees fairly and with dignity. Jeff always said he was attracted to employment law because he found the individual stories he addressed endlessly interesting.
Outside of work, Jeff was an avid reader of eclectic materials ranging from history to fiction. Jeff was known for his passion and would express his opinions vociferously. His passion extended to his love for New York sports teams including the Yankees, Giants and Rangers. He was a devoted and caring son.
Jeff married Kara Thornton in 1993. While opposites in almost every way, they shared a deep bond, values and mutual respect that helped them weather some deep losses as well as a lot of joy in their lives together. Jeff and Kara have two precious daughters - Rose Louise and Catherine Louise. Rose and Catie meant the world to Jeff - he made sure they knew that they were the most important thing in his life. He rarely ended any conversation with them without telling them how much he loved them and was proud of them. His life’s goal was to ensure they could do anything their hearts desired and he succeeded in that goal.
Jeff was also funny and approached life enthusiastically – he was an excellent photo bomber, nickname maker, creator of funny sayings and had a vast wealth of knowledge about everything. His daughters knew to ask Dad if they had any homework questions. He was humble and known for not caring about how he dressed which often drove his daughters crazy.
Jeff’s Jewish identity was very important to him and he had many wonderful memories as a member of Temple Beth Israel as a child and Knesset Israel in Pittsfield as an adult.
At various times, Jeff also served on the Board of Directors of the Jewish Federation of the Berkshires and Congregation Knesset Israel.
Aside from his wife and daughters, Jeff is survived by his father Eric May, his brother Steven May and his wife Gail Downey, his mother in law Barbara Lovely, his brother in law Scott Osterman and his wife Mindy, brother in law Thomas Thornton and his wife Elaine, several nieces and one nephew.
He is predeceased by his mother, Rosalind May and his sister, Leslie Osterman.
The funeral service will be held on Wednesday, November 3rd, at 10 a.m. at Congregation Knesset Israel, 16 Colt Road, Pittsfield, MA. The funeral service can also be livestreamed at knessetisrael.org/livestream. Donations in his memory can be made to the Jeffrey May Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation Fund or Knesset Israel in Pittsfield.
If you wish to donate by phone, please call (888) 936-6731 and speak with Laurie Kikel. If you wish to donate by mail, send check to:
CCF – In honor of Jeffrey May
5526 West 13400 South, #510
Herriman, Utah 84096, USA