Brimfield Pioneer Richard May dies

BRIMFIELD, MA – Richard “Dick” Dees May, 80, passed away at home in late December.

In 1971 Mr. May bought the Kerry farm in Brimfield, using the land as an anchor field for the world-known Brimfield Antiques Show. May’s Antique Market, established in 1977, has been featured in many national publications and on television.

May’s unique style of show opening garnered the business an excellent reputation, and it was featured in the New York Times on Sunday May 1, 1988. May enjoyed working in the family business with his wife and children as recently as this year, and was a reliable fixture on the field during the thrice yearly antiques festival in Western Massachusetts.

Richard May 1-16.jpgBorn Nov. 28, 1927 in Worcester, Mass., of John Charles May and Virginia Dees (Goldie) May, Richard was pre-deceased by a brother, Charles May, and half-sister Dorothy May. He grew up in the greater Hartford, Conn., area, attended Bethany College in West Virginia, and later pursued his college degree on the GI Bill at the University of Pennsylvania. In the late 1940s Richard left the Navy Air Corp and married Laura Jane May (Pascoe), his wife of 56 years.

Richard and Laura made their home in Sturbridge, Mass., where Richard established his first business, May Hardware, selling to builders throughout Massachusetts and Connecticut. This led to a long career as a quality homebuilder in the Sturbridge area. He also built and ran the Quality Inn (formerly the Holiday Inn Express) in Sturbridge, and partnered in the building of the 1738 House.

Richard’s true passion was sailing, where for 35 years he frequented the waters off Stonington, Fishers Island, Block Island, Cutty Hunk, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket and Maine. In addition he made two transatlantic crossings from France to the U.S.

Richard and his wife enjoyed traveling to South America and Asia, completing two extraordinary trips to the remote areas of the Amazon jungle in Peru. Richard was a lifelong member of the Sierra Club and a member of The Nature Conservancy. He was an active Rotarian in Sturbridge until the 1990s, and served as the President from 1979-80.

He leaves his wife Laura, son Richard T. and daughter-in-law Joyce May of Cranston, R.I., son Charles A. and daughter-in-law Ulrika May of Sweden, daughters Martha May of Northampton, Mass., Ellen May of Wilbraham, Mass., and Susan Madara of Tuscon, Ariz. He leaves 11 grandchildren ranging in age from 13-27.