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Published: Monday, 8/6/2007

Couple dies within days of each other

SWANTON Ruth Ella May, a Swanton homemaker with a green thumb and an eye for garage-sale bargains, died of a heart attack in her home at age 65 yesterday just two days after her husband, Robert Alvin May, 68, died of emphysema.

They were a team. I think she just missed Dad too much, said their daughter, Donna Rhoads.

Mrs. May was the spunkiest 4-foot-11 person you d ever meet, Mrs. Rhoads said, adding that there were two things about Mom: She told it like it was, and you didn t have to wonder what she was thinking.

Born in Gopeville, Ky., Mrs. May moved as a child to North Judson, Ind., when her father obtained work in an auto plant.

She was working as a waitress at an Indiana restaurant when she met her future husband, who lived in nearby Winamac, Mrs. Rhoads said.

He came in and flirted a little too heavily with her, and she poured ice water in his lap, she said.

Eventually she warmed up to Mr. May, however, and the couple were married April 11, 1959.

An Army veteran from Renssalaer, Ind., Mr. May worked for Ford Motor Co. and was transferred to its Maumee Stamping Plant when it opened in 1974. He retired in 1989 as the plant s production manager, Mrs. Rhoads said.

Mrs. May loved to garden, growing both flowers and vegetables in her yard. She won several first-place awards for gardening and wreath-making, and was a member of the Swanton Garden Club, her daughter said. My mom could touch a plant and fix it. She had a green thumb you wouldn t believe, Mrs. Rhoads said.

The Mays life changed in 2000 when their eldest daughter, Sherry, was paralyzed in an automobile accident. She died five years later at age 43, Mrs. Rhoads said.

The May family cared for their daughter in their home for about a year before agreeing to admit her to a care center in Fremont. The emotional and physical stress took a toll on the parents, Mrs. Rhoads said.

Mrs. May underwent quadruple bypass heart surgery five years ago, and Mr. May just went downhill after the death of his oldest daughter, Mrs. Rhoads said.

Mr. May s emphysema worsened over the last few years and he did not leave the house much, she said. He died Friday in Hospice of Northwest Ohio, and Mrs. May suffered a fatal heart attack yesterday morning at her home.

The Mays were members of Brailey Union Church, Swanton Elks, and Delta Eagles.

Surviving are their son, Robert; daughters, Donna Rhoads and Teresa Buck; eight grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

Visitation will be from 2 to 8 p.m. today at Weigel Funeral Home, Swanton, where funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. tomorrow

The family requests tributes to Hospice of Northwest Ohio or St. Jude Children s Hospital.



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