Laura Myrtle Johnson May (Johnnie)
April 10, 1922-July 14, 2019
Even at the age of 97, Laura drove to the Durham Farmers’ Market bright and early on Saturday mornings shopping for fresh tomatoes and sweet corn. Her long life was marked by determination at every turn. Born in Walters, Virginia on a productive peanut farm in the spring of 1922, Laura developed a love of learning that never ended. She met and married the love of her life, Edwin J. May, Sr. in Norfolk, Virginia after she had completed two years of college. Together they had a son, Edwin J. May, Jr. and the three of them moved to Durham in 1948.
Laura started working at Home Security Life Insurance Company as an actuary and retired 37 years later as the first and only female Vice President of the company. Every weekend and holiday Laura worked with her husband and son in the family business, Wells-Lloyd Florist. Sunday mornings were devoted to worship at Watts Street Baptist Church where she taught Sunday School for 45 years and served as the first female Deacon. A belief in the importance of giving led Laura to volunteer with Civitan International and to donate to the Red Cross drives. Her life was not all work; she was an avid fan of Duke basketball and an Iron Duke.
Family was the center of Laura’s life. She is survived by her son, Edwin J. May, Jr., granddaughter Tracey May Kalvaitis, great-grandchildren Kamanakai, Avelea, Nakoa and Surasa, her sister JoAnn Seay of Richmond, and many nieces and nephews.
The day before her stroke, Laura told her son, “It’s time for me to go.” After eleven days under excellent care in Hospice, she died on July 14th.
Her funeral will be on Thursday, August 1st, 1pm at Watts Street Baptist Church. Please consider making a donation to Hospice 4321 Medical Park Dr. Suite 101 Durham, NC 27704 (919-620-3853); Hospice serves all in their hour of need and so did Laura May.