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Kenneith W. "Ken" MAY

Obituary/Area Death
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MAY, Kenneth W. ?Ken?

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retired homebuilder and real estate investor, died peacefully in his home in North Palm Beach on November 14, 2012. He was 84. Ken is survived by his beloved wife of 65 years, Mae E. May, his sister, Glenis May Smith, of Belfry, Kentucky, his children, K. Rodney May (Maria del Rosario Vargas-May), of Tampa, and Lisa D. May (Glenn Bruce Jackson) of Takoma Park, Maryland, and four grandchildren Andrew May, Tampa, Lauren May Staley (Jeffrey Michael Staley), Lynchburg, Virginia, Thomas M. Collier, III, New York City, and Ian Jackson, Takoma Park, Maryland. Ken was preceded in death by his son, David Alan May; by his parents, Roland May and Cansas May Scott; and by his sister, Virginia May Loftis. In 1958, he was hired by the late Jack Schwencke to join North Palm Beach Properties at a salary of $75 per week. Ken worked out of the North Palm Beach Village Hall, selling lots and homes at the very beginnings of the beautifully planned community. In 1960, he and John Doran began the successful firm of Doran and May in the Lakeview Building on US-1. Ken liked to learn as much as he could about people he met and would remember personal details years later. Ken often said that he knew how to read people, which made him an effective negotiator. His people skills made him a natural in buying, selling, and trading real estate. Ken found creative ways to enable young Pratt & Whitney engineers to qualify for home loans. Smelling a deal, he sometimes took down payments in kind: a shotgun, a piano, a fishing camp. When Doran and May acquired some vacant lots, Ken hired a crew and built some ?spec? houses. He left Doran and May to become a full time custom-home builder under the banner ?Kenco Homes, Inc.? Up until Ken retired in the late 1980s, Kenco was one of the most sought-after homebuilders in the north end of Palm Beach County. He kept the business small, operating out of his home; Mae was the bookkeeper and CFO. More than a dozen Kenco homes are located in the Country Club Addition of North Palm Beach, including his family home, which he built in 1965 in only eight weeks. The home is still in the family. Ken sold real estate as Ken May Realty and formed K. May Construction for commercial projects, including the Benchmark Building on US 1 and the Pro?s Nest condominiums. He, along with Jack Schwencke, owned and eventually developed the land for the Northlake Commons shopping center at Northlake Blvd and I-95. Ken and Mae delighted in the accomplishments of their children. Proud moments included their son?s investiture as a federal judge and their daughter?s joining NASA?s Mars Exploration Program, as well as the birth of each grandchild. In general, Ken loved talking to children, particularly his grandchildren and the kids growing up in the neighborhood. Ken had a rich sense of humor and made friends easily. He served on the board of the First American Bank, and, with Mae, was an enthusiastic supporter of the Eissey Theatre. For many years, Ken and Mae were avid tennis players, and they also enjoyed international travel, generating many wonderful memories. A memorial service will be held at St. Mark?s Episcopal Church, 3395 Burns Road, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, at 11:00 am on December 1, 2012. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in his memory to the or Hospice of Palm Beach County.
Published in The Palm Beach Post from Nov. 17 to Nov. 18, 2012
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