Nellie Bates May passed away peacefully in Brandon, FL on April 17, 2019, at the age of 90. She is survived by her daughter, Janell Heim, and her son, Greg May, as well as 12 grandchildren and 9 great grandchildren.
Nellie lived 90 glorious years. She was an only child who was doted on by middle aged parents. She was surrounded throughout childhood by aunts, uncles and cousins from Montgomery and Birmingham, Alabama, which afforded her lots of playmates and a multitude of fun experiences during her early years.
When Nellie entered Hillsborough High School she met the “love of her life,” Jack, at the young age of 15 and never let him go.
Nellie was extremely ambitious and dedicated to becoming the very best she could be. She graduated from high school and went to the University of Tampa, working part-time at JC Penny department store to pay for school. She began her teaching career after graduating from U.T., but soon ascended the ladder to become a resource teacher, principal of two schools, and eventually was promoted to area director of Hillsborough County Schools. In fact, she played a pivotal role in “breaking the glass ceiling” in the school system during the mid-1970’s, as no women had been promoted to that level prior. She served in that role for over a decade. After retiring briefly from her 34 years of service with Hillsborough County Public Schools, she accepted an offer to become Supervisor of Interns at University of South Florida.
Nellie truly influenced, in such a positive manner, countless numbers of students and teachers throughout her long career in education.
Jack finally convinced her to retire for the final time so as to enable them to travel more freely and unrestricted by her busy calendar and strenuous work schedule.
Nellie and Jack traveled the world during their 47 years of marriage. They literally could have written travel guides on hotels, restaurants, and major points of interest.
They took many long drives, preferring back roads to enjoy mountain scenery, fall colors and beautiful countryside. They would often take daytrips to favorite beaches or parks to enjoy sunsets together—they were forever romantics!
Nellie had a generous heart for all those whom she loved. She was helpful with advice upon request or not! She was full of life, always ready for an adventure, and thoroughly enjoyed socializing with family and friends at every opportunity. Her Christian upbringing and strong faith in God is to what she attributed her lifelong health, happiness, and success.
She was a great role model, the ultimate peace-maker and a never-ending source of encouragement to all those around her.
She encouraged her family to do their best in all endeavors as this is God’s expectation.
Nellie knew to pray when times were tough, but most importantly she remembered to start each day with a grateful heart and a prayer of thankfulness for her and her family’s abundant blessings.
Nellie will be sorely missed by her family and friends who loved her so dearly. She believed, as we do, that this earthly life is not the end, but the beginning of a new life as the gates to the kingdom of heaven open and our old life is concluded.
So Nellie has now embarked upon the greatest adventure of all, in God’s Holy Kingdom, with those family members and friends who have preceded her in death. Her soul is pure and white as she crosses over that final threshold and, if needed and the job is open, we are sure and certain that she will be requesting to perform the duties of “official tour director” for she was a born leader and organizer!
So, now with heartfelt love and appreciation, we bid her a fond farewell until we meet again.
Nellie’s Celebration of Life will be Friday, May 3, 2019 @ 11:00 at New Hope United Methodist Church, 120 N. Knights Ave., Brandon, FL 33510.
Family will receive friends in a reception following the service at Logan Hall (50 steps to the left as you exit the front door of the church).
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Cancer Society, Alzheimer and Dementia Research or Lifepath Hospice.
Celebration of Life Service
Friday, May 3, 2019
New Hope United Methodist Church of Brandon
120 N Knights Avenue
Brandon, FL 33510Get Directions