Eleanor “Ellie” May, age 90, died on November 24, 2019 at home surrounded by family in Ithaca, NY. Ellie was born in Chicago on September 23, 1929, to the late Marian Elizabeth Porter and Leslie Wyman Porter. She is survived by her loving husband, Montgomery “Monte” May Jr., whom she married on August 17, 1957, and her daughters Marianne May-Rodda (Phil) and Patty Van de Bogart (Ray), and her grandchildren: Sam, Benny, Daniel, and Natalie “Lili.” She was predeceased by her eldest daughter, Leslie May-Mettler (Charlie). She is also survived by her adoptive family in Israel: Mendel and Abby Breitstein, and their children: Aryeh, Ezra, Noam, Meital, Amram and Tehilla.
Ellie graduated with a degree in Nursing from Chicago Wesley Memorial Hospital in 1950 and worked at Shriner’s Hospital, and the children she worked with at that time have always held a special place in her heart. She went on to get a degree in Public Health Nursing in Seattle and from that point on always considered herself to be a public health nurse. She moved to Ithaca with her family in 1971 where she became a school nurse teacher for 20 years. Ellie was always an active member of the community working to make it a better place. She was President of the Board of Visiting Nurse Services, County Office of the Aging, and Friends of the Tompkins County Public Library. She also volunteered at Lifelong helping seniors with taxes and health insurance (HICAP), and was active in 4-H and Girl Scouts when her daughters were involved in them. These are only a few examples of organizations she worked with in the community; we are still learning about and uncovering the vast impact she had. Ellie loved her friends that she made in the Blacksheep Handspinners, Fingerlakes Live Steam Club, her book club, and her biweekly breakfast with the Nurses. Ellie was extremely family-oriented and loved her family above all else. She was constantly setting up family get-togethers and adventures, and we will forever cherish those memories.
Ellie being Ellie, was working on drafting her obituary when she died, so we have included a quote directly from her: “I have been blessed with fantastic friends without whom I would not have survived the joys and sorrows of life. Your family is supportive but friends add a whole new dimension. I have treasured each of you. Monte and I had the pleasure of owning the Stewart Park Merry-Go-Round for fifteen years. I had a special job as a nurse teacher in the Ithaca School District. My volunteer jobs enriched my life. I leave this earth knowing I used my life as best I could. It pains me to leave those I love to grieve, but know I am always in your heart.”
Calling hours will be held on Monday, December 2, from 4-7pm at Perkins Funeral Home, 55 W. Main St., Dryden.
If you want to honor Ellie’s memory, please volunteer in your community, or you can donate to Lifelong at 119 W Court Street Ithaca NY 14850.
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