Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Elmer Clarence May, 88, of Williamsburg

Elmer Clarence May (Courtesy of Nelsen Funeral Home)

WILLIAMSBURG — Elmer Clarence May “passed” to the Arms of Jesus Christ on Sunday, January 23, 2022 in Williamsburg, VA.

Elmer Clarence, the fourth of five children born to Elmer Conrad May and Melita Mary Carney, was born on 14 July 1933 in Dubuque, Iowa.

He was an Athlete, Author, Soldier, Scholar, Loving Husband, and Devoted Father and Grandfather. He graduated with honors from Loras Academy, Dubuque, Iowa in 1951, after competing in Football, Basketball, and Track.

He graduated from Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa with a Bachelor of Science in 1956 as a two major sport athlete, Football and Wrestling. He graduated from Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa in 1970 with a Master’s Degree and finished his academic career with a Doctorate Degree, Doctor of Philosophy (Ph. D) in 1995 at George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia.

Elmer served in the United States Army, Field Artillery for thirty years from 1956 to 1986, retiring as a Colonel. He commanded in Germany, Viet Nam, and the United States, mostly in Airborne Units. He also served as a Professor at the United States Military Academy, West Point, NY in the Departments of Military Art and Engineering and Department of History from 1967 to 1970, where he authored a textbook, “The Art of Ancient Warfare.” He finished his Military Career at the National War College, Fort McNair as a Professor in the Department of Military Strategy and was a Ranger and Master Parachutist. Elmer received numerous Military Awards including: Defense Superior Service Medal (DSSM) with One Oak Leaf Cluster; Legion of Merit (LOM) with One Oak Leaf Cluster; Bronze Star Medal (BSM) with One Oak Leaf Cluster; Air Medal (AM) with One Oak Leaf Cluster; Meritorious Service Medal (MSM); Army Commendation Medal (ARCOM) with One Oak Leaf Cluster; and the Vietnamese Silver Star (VNSS). He served in Viet Nam twice, 1965-1966 and 1970-1971.

After retiring from active service, he performed in two firms, BDM and RPI where he wrote and executed Nuclear and Chemical Exercises, and was responsible for Counter Terrorism Activities in 120 cities in the United States. While working for Arlington County Fire Department, he wrote the after action report for the airplane that crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11/2001. In retirement at Williamsburg, Virginia he was a member of the Knights of Columbus (K of C), the Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH), and attended Christopher Wren classes at William and Mary College.

Elmer was preceded in death by his mother (Melita) and father (Elmer); three older sisters Letty (Melita) Kunnert, Mary Patterson, and Alberta (Boody) Taylor Brown; younger brother Frederick; and grandson, Adam Andrew.

He is survived by his loving wife of nearly 60 years, Sandy May; four children, Mark, Stacey, Gary (Lisa) and Susan (Eric); nine grandchildren Ashley, Emily, Ryan, Aimee, Natalie, Dillon, Jacob, Zachary and Zoey; and two great-grandchildren Sawyer and Adam.

A memorial to Sandy and Elmer is present in Mount Olivet Cemetery, Dubuque, Iowa.

A viewing will be held on Friday, Feb. 4th from 5pm – 7pm at the Nelsen Funeral Home, 3785 Strawberry Plains Road, Williamsburg, VA 23188. A funeral mass and celebration of Elmer’s life will take place on Saturday, Feb. 5th at 2pm at St. Bede Catholic Church, 3686 lronbound Road, Williamsburg, VA 23185. A reception at the church will follow the ceremony. All are welcome to attend.

In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the Knights of Columbus, PO Box 6394, Williamsburg, VA 23188-5222 (WWW.KOFC6828.ORG)

Online condolences may be shared at www.NelsenWilliamsburg.com.

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