Lydia May, 91, of Traverse City, passed away unexpectedly at her home on Wednesday, July 19, 2017.
Born in 1925 in New Bedford, Massachusetts, to Antone and Mary Constance Farias, she graduated from Fairhaven High School in 1944 and attended secretarial school for one year.
On behalf of her mother she wrote a chiding letter to her brother Jimmy's sergeant while he was serving in the U.S. Army during World War II. He wasn't writing home and his mother was concerned. The sergeant chastised Jimmy for worrying his mother - Jimmy said, "That's my kid sister's writing," as both parents only spoke Portuguese. "Do you have a picture of this sister?" In July of 1946, after a two-year correspondence and the end of a war, Lydia and Staff Sergeant Allison K. May married. He predeceased her in 1995 just a few months shy of their 50th anniversary.
She worked at Wyman Furniture Co. in Pontiac as head bookkeeper from 1946 until retirement in 1976.
Lydia was very happy that she and Al experienced travel to Australia, Holland and Germany in the late '70s before retirement took them to the Florida sunshine state.
To keep busy she took up the hobby of ceramic work, and among many beautiful pieces created is a nativity set still enjoyed yearly. She learned to golf and was happy to keep her new friends laughing on the course. All this was fun but looking for a challenge, she trained in the business of electrolysis and became active in a Florida chapter of the ABWA. She was honored with the recognition of Businesswoman of the Year during this chapter of her life.
In 1997 Lydia moved to Traverse City to be closer to family. Although she considered herself a lifelong Catholic, she eventually regularly attended church at the Redeemer Lutheran Church in Interlochen. She regarded this to be her church family, and she made lasting friends, with special note of Jo Gnirs.
Three years ago Lydia moved to Bay Ridge and had a new circle of people she could make laugh. Mondays were committed to co-running the bingo games, and Tuesdays meant Aggravation. That was only possible if the game ended in time for NCIS - Lydia would not easily miss her favorite show! She never met anyone who did not become a friend, but Bay Ridge gave her a dear friend, Jean Olsen. Not too much happened without these two being side by side.
Lydia was proud to be known as a woman who kept a well-tended home. Fiercely independent, she was still driving herself to her standing Friday hair appointment. Thank you to Sue who kept her hair "just perfect!"
Lydia was preceded in death by her parents; her sister, Lydia who died in infancy; and three brothers, Antone, James and John.
She is survived and dearly missed by one daughter, Nancy (Richard H.) Brady, of Petoskey; as well as the following grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Lisa (Vince) Grainer and Easton, Carson and Peyton, of Livonia, Marcee (Clifton) Smith and Zachary and Makayla, of Petoskey, Audrey Kirby and Liberty and Ruth, of Petoskey, Dr. Brian (Bailey) Adams and Samuel and Georgina, of Alexandria, Louisiana, Dean (Tricia) Adams and Owen, Sophie and Ella, of Traverse City, and Kathryn Lydia Adams, of Traverse City; plus a sister-in-law, Mary Farias, of Fairhaven, Massachusetts. There are numerous surviving nephews and nieces who were dear to her heart as well.
Faith, family and friends were the center of Lydia's life. Every day started and ended with prayers, and in between she was working on her daily goal - to make someone smile or laugh. For those who knew her well, she has the last word - she loves you more!
Visitation will take place at the funeral home on Saturday, July 29, from 4 to 6 p.m. A memorial service will be officiated by Pastor Jason Bauer, of Redeemer Lutheran Church, on Sunday, July 30, at noon, with visitation one hour prior, also at the funeral home. Lydia's final resting place will be Grand Traverse Memorial Gardens with her husband.
Those considering an expression of sympathy may do so to the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association or the Redeemer Lutheran Church in Lydia's honor.
Please visit www.reynolds-jonkhoff.com to share memories and condolences with the family.
The Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home and Cremation Services is caring for the family.
Published on July 26, 2017