1930 William 2014

William May

May 10, 1930 — June 17, 2014

William (Billy) May
A Celebration of Life for William (Billy) Lavern May will be held at 10 a.m., Saturday, August 16, 2014 at the Peacock Family Chapel with Ian Blacker of the Lamar Christian Church officiating.  Per Mr. May’s request, cremation has taken place and there was no public viewing.
Interment will be in the Veteran’s Section of Fairmount Cemetery in Lamar with Military Honors provided by the Lamar VFW Post #3621.  William served in the Army during 1952 to 1954 and was stationed in Germany for one year. 

William Lavern May was born on May 10, 1930 in Lamar, Colorado to Adam and Mary (Bauer) May.  William passed away on June 17, 2014, at the age of 84 in Logan, Utah.  His family is grateful to know that he has rejoined his wife Marilyn, his Mom and Dad, and other loved ones in heaven.

Billy lived with his parents in Lamar until he married Marilyn Marie (Jacobs) May of Lamar.  He had a wonderful childhood growing up on farms in May Valley and Lamar, the second born of three children that included Sister Emma (Briggs) and Brother Albert. 
They were, and still are, a close knit family, and Billy was always ready to move back to Lamar to join his family and friends.  His profession of owning, training and racing thoroughbred horses throughout the country kept him away from Lamar much of the time.
William married Marilyn, had two children, Rick and Shelly, and lived in Lamar periodically for numerous years while also traveling to support his profession on the thoroughbred racing circuit.  William and Marilyn raced thoroughbred horses throughout the country, including Denver, Omaha, Phoenix, Hot Springs, El Paso, Chicago, Detroit and parts of California, New Mexico, and Maryland.
William started in the horse racing profession at a very young age with his Dad (Adam) and Brother (Albert) at various race tracks throughout Colorado, such as the no longer existing racetrack in Brush, Colorado, and then in Denver, Colorado at Centennial Race Track where he won many races after the track opened in the early 1950’s (Arapahoe Park is now Denver’s thoroughbred race track).  His cousins Harvey (Lucille) and Raymond (Irene) May and many friends from Lamar and nearby (that included Bob and Edna Francisco, LeRoy and Ruth Mckinney, Hoss and Virginia Inman, Calvin, Dilly and Kevin Eikleberry, Bob and Marilyn Gibson, Ned and Gerry Levitt, Lloyd Philpy, and Temple Rushton and family) also raced horses at Denver’s Centennial and Arapahoe and other race tracks in Omaha and Phoenix. 
As a very interesting piece of horse racing history in Colorado, William and his father (Adam) won the Denver Post “20th Colorado Derby” in Brush, Colorado on July 4, 1947 with a horse named Whippet.  Story has it that Whippet outran a few of the best thoroughbreds brought in from Kentucky that year.  The track in Brush, Memorial Park at the Brush County Fairgrounds, actually preceded Centennial Race Track as the first pari-mutual horse racing track in Colorado.
Bill eventually expanded his profession to various race tracks across the country, winning an estimated 500+ thoroughbred horse races during his career.  A few of the early races (prior to 1970) won included: the 1957 William O. “Billy” Reynolds Memorial Handicap at Centennial with a horse named Upset Book; Colorado Breeders Derbies at Centennial (with Book Lea in 1962, Run Zag in 1967, and others after 1970); the 1965 Ruidoso Thoroughbred Futurity for 2 year olds in Ruidoso, NM (with Hoss Inman’s Bally Bird), and stakes races during 1969 with filly Mary Lancer (winner of 6 of 7 races that year, including the Riley Allison Thoroughbred Futurity at Sunland Park, New Mexico). 

Bill had many other racehorse friends across the country; including Don Von Hemel, Lyman Rollins, Jack Van Berg and Dennis Sowers (who were leading trainers at various tracks around the country).  William took some time off during his thoroughbred racing training schedule to manage a large racehorse farm in Glenwood, Arkansas (near Hot Springs); this management job included overseeing the farm’s trainers at various tracks around the country where many of the farm’s horses were racing.  During his time in Arkansas, story has it that he saved one of Gene Autry’s horses when Gene’s wife, Ina, needed help.  Later in his career as a horseman he became a Jockey agent, managing jockeys at Turf Paradise in Phoenix, Arapahoe Park in Denver, and other racetracks.
Bill and Marilyn made their home in Phoenix, AZ (near Turf Paradise racetrack) during the last twenty years or so, with three of those years (2006-2009) living in a home in Paradise, Utah.  The winter weather in Paradise was a little too severe for Marilyn’s liking, so they moved back to Phoenix in 2009.
Bill departed this life on June 17, 2014 with family by his side, and with powerful expressions of thankfulness, love, affirmation, and hope spoken.  He will be fondly remembered as a family patriarch who worked throughout his life to support his wife, children, and family.  

He is survived by his daughter Shelly (John) Jackson, son Rick (Kim) May, sister  Emma (Don) Briggs, brother Albert (Mary) May, grandchildren Ricky May, Ryan Hernandez, Brandon (Paula) Boydston, Jamie Gunter, and Kari (Mark Izatt) Bess.  He is also survived by his great-grandchildren Chase May, Hailey May, Madison Boydston, Lauren May, Wyatt Bess, Breyden Boydston, Alyssa Boydston, and Gracie Izatt and many nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives and many friends.  He was preceded in death by his parents Adam and Mary May, brother-in-laws Don Briggs, Jimmy Jacobs, and Dwight Eaton, nephews Gary Eaton and Brett Jacobs, great-grandson Sam May, and other Aunts, Uncles, Cousins and other relatives.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Alzheimer's Association direct or in care of the funeral home office.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of William May, please visit our flower store.

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