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James B. May, 84, passed away peacefully at his Vero Beach, FL, home on Tuesday, June 10, 2014. Born in Brooklyn, NY, he grew up in Rockville Centre, Long Island and was a 1951 graduate of Williams College.
He entered the Army, served in Korea and was awarded a Bronze Star, before attending Harvard Law School, from which he graduated in 1957. In the same year, he joined the New York City law firm of Brown, Wood, Fuller, Caldwell and Ivey, which became the firm of Brown & Wood LLP and, after his retirement, merged with Sidley Austin LLP. During his 31 years at Brown & Wood, Jim was recognized for the breadth of his legal expertise, having headed its Litigation department, and having worked extensively in both its Municipal Finance and Federal Securities law practices. His principal clients included Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated and other leading investment banks. Jim's intellect, seemingly photographic memory (when Lexis first introduced the possibility of using computers to research legal precedents, his firm tested the new technology by arranging a competition between Jim and the computer), his capacity for spirited friendship, and his high standards of propriety and personal etiquette established precedents that enriched his firm and the colleagues with whom he worked. Mr. May was a member of the American Law Institute, Vero Beach Country Club, Sea Oaks Beach and Tennis Club and Belmont Country Club of Perrysburg, OH.
He is survived by his wife of 20 years, Nancy Marquardt Coble May; daughters, Patricia May (David) Thomsson and Susan May O'Byrne; sons, Peter (Aimee) May and Timothy (Ann) May; 8 grandchildren and 3 step-children, John Arthur Coble, Peter Carl M. Coble and Kimberly Coble Barabe. He was predeceased by his wife, the former Ann Powers, mother of his children.
A funeral service will be announced at a later date.
Memorial contributions may be made to the VNA & Hospice Foundation of Indian River, Salvation Army, or to a
Arrangements are under the direction of Cox Gifford Seawinds Funeral Home & Crematory, Vero Beach, FL. An online guestbook may be signed at
Cox-Gifford-Seawinds Funeral Home & Crematory
1950 20Th St
Vero Beach, FL 32960
Published in Toledo Blade on June 13, 2014