Lilla West "Sis" May, 91, of Valdosta, passed away peacefully on Sunday, March 26, 2017. She was born on April 12, 1925 to the late William Stanley West, Jr. and Lillia Mae Webb West. Lilla West "Sis" May was the last living grandchild of U.S. Senator William Stanley West, who built The Crescent and was a founding father of what is now Valdosta State University. "Sis" was raised in The Crescent where her grandmother, Ora Lee West taught her the importance of community involvement and advocacy for those less fortunate. This led to Sis' lifetime involvement in many service organizations. She was very active in the Junior League of Buffalo, NY, and the Republican Party; was a member of numerous bridge clubs and book clubs. Her first husband, William R. Heck was killed in an Army Air Corps training accident 7 days after their son was born. She then married John H. "Jack" May and after his time in the service, they moved to Williamsville, New York with their 2 children. When it snowed on Mother's Day in Williamsville, she and Jack decided to move back to Valdosta. They were very active in the Republican Party in Georgia and were instrumental in getting Ronald Reagan to Valdosta when he ran for president. They also helped start the Red Carpet program to welcome new officers to Moody A.F.B., and were involved in starting Valdosta's first blood drive.
She was active in The Garden Club, The Women's Club, book clubs, was a patron of the arts and a member of the Valdosta/Lowndes County Historical Society. She was a member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy and the Daughters of the American Revolution. She worked for a while at the Valdosta Daily Times, and helped her husband Jack in his CPA firm and at the board of elections in Valdosta.
"Sis" was cherished by her grandchildren and was very involved in their lives. She was very proud of her home town of Valdosta and she taught her grandchildren the rich history of Valdosta, The Crescent and the family's special ties to the town. She instilled in them the importance of southern values and of being involved in community service organizations. "Sis" would share stories of what it was like growing up in the 1920's and 1930's and living in The Crescent. She always taught them to be thankful for family. She was a long time member of Christ Episcopal Church in Valdosta.
She was preceded in death by her mother and father; her first husband, William Ray "Bill" Heck; her second husband, John H. "Jack" May; her brother and sister-in-law, William S. "Bill" and Laura West; her brother and sister-in-law, Horace R. "Buddy" and Dot West; her son, William R.H. "Bill" May and her great granddaughter, Avery Lynne Templar. She is survived by her daughter, Carolyn M. "Lynne" Voigt and husband Wayne; her 3 granddaughters, Melissa V. Templar and husband Jon; Lalli M. Barney and husband John; Kimberly S. Voigt; and 4 great grandchildren, Nathanael W. and Sydney M. Barney; Hailey N. and Addison L. Templar plus other nieces, nephews, and many friends.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, April 8th, 2017 at 1:00 p.m. at the Carson McLane Funeral Home. The family will receive visitors prior to the service from 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. A reception will follow the service in the kindergarten house behind The Crescent, 904 North Patterson Street, Valdosta from 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm. Following the reception the family will proceed to Sunset Hill Cemetery for committal in the West Mausoleum. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Crescent at Valdosta Garden Center, 904 N. Patterson Street, P.O. Box 2423, Valdosta, GA 31604-2423 or a charity of your choice. Condolences to the family may be conveyed at www.mclanecares.com. Carson McLane Funeral Home.
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