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John Franklin May, son of Reuel Emerson and Bessie Fay (Marsh) May, was born on May 3, 1922, in Lots Creek Township, south and east of Mount Ayr. He was welcomed by an older brother, Carl, and later joined by sisters, Retha and Bonnie.
He was no stranger to hard work. His first job at eight years old was leading a stacker horse for a hay crew making $.25 a day.
He attended school through the eighth grade after which he worked full time on the family farm and various other jobs including farm hand and running a stationary baler with his brother, Carl.
John joined the Navy in October 1942 where he was a Gunners Mate on the USS Fredrick Funston APA 89. He served for over three years where he was involved in seven invasions and received several service awards. He always said 13 was his lucky number. In WWII he was on an LCVP36 foot boat #13. When General Quarters (air raid) sounded, he was a gunner on 20 M.M. #13. When the fire whistle blew John was on hose #13. Later his grandson had four children born on the 13th day of the month. He was honorably discharged on Christmas Day 1945.
He met Carol Jean Clark in October1947 at a bowling alley in Sheridon, MO. This began a two-and-a-half-year courtship. They were married June 4, 1950, at the Nazarene Church in Maryville, MO. and they made their home on a farm south of Mount Ayr. To this union four children were born: Linda, Kathy, David and Shelly.
He supported the family by farming, working as a mechanic for the Ford garage and Ames Cross, backhoe operator for Rex Shaha, digging wells for Elmer Baker and driving a school bus for the Mount Ayr Community School.
John accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord & Savior in 1961 and lived a life faithfully serving the Lord. He was a member of the Free Methodist Church in Mount Ayr for over 60 years. John was baptized at the same time with his three older children.
John passed away on December 22, 2022. He was preceded in death by his parents and his in-laws, John and Elma Clark, son, David, brother, Carl, sister in-law, Pearl May, sister, Bonnie Summa, brother’s in-law, Gerald Summa and Eldon Dillenburg and grandsons, Brandon Campbell and Austin Boyd.
Those left to cherish his memory include his wife of 72 years Carol, daughters, Linda (Denny) Huntsman of Mount Ayr, Kathy (Phil) Campbell of Douds, Shelly (Loren) Norton of Kingston; sister, Retha Dillenburg; grandchildren, Toni (Tony) Taylor of Columbia, MO, Brian (Amanda) Campbell of Douds, Scott Huntsman of Mount Ayr, Brenda (Jeff) Hammes of Richland, Heather (Chad) Wesch of Lincoln, NE, Ann (Johnathan) Snodgrass of Ottumwa, Keena, Joy and John Norton of Kingston; 20 great grandchildren and 11 great-great grandchildren; many nieces, nephews and friends.
Visitation will be held at the funeral home on Thursday, December 29 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Services will be at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, December 30, 2022, at the Armstrong Funeral Home in Mount Ayr, IA.
Officiating will be the Rev. Charles Weiman and Rev. Phil Campbell.
Music will be “The Lighthouse” and “Daddy’s Hands”.
Casketbearers will be Brian Campbell, Scott Huntsman, John Norton, Jeff Hammes, Loren Norton and Denny Huntsman.
Burial will be in the Rose Hill Cemetery in Mount Ayr, IA.
Military Honors by the Ringgold American Legion and US Navy Honor Guard.
Memorials in his name to be decided.

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