Friend. Generous. Smart. A good person. Caring. Respectful. Engaging. A positive, ethical and fun-loving guy. A straight shooter. Humorous. Talented. Great hair.
Those were some words and phrases Avon Republicans used to describe the late Avon Town Councilman Christopher May, Brian Ladouceur Jr., Avon Republican Town Committee chairman, said in remarks at the funeral on Aug. 29.
Friends, coworkers, residents and town and political officials came to Valley Community Baptist Church on Thursday morning to attend the “service of worship and witness to the resurrection of Dr. Christopher May” – as described in the program.
Republican Town Committee members who contacted Ladouceur Jr. after May’s passing at age 57 on Aug. 22 told him they were “shocked,” “saddened,” “speechless” and “stunned.”
“As Chris was so often engaged in what we did as a group, it’s going to be hard to imagine him not being there,” Ladouceur Jr. said. “I’m still at a loss that he’s gone.”
At calling hours on Wednesday night at Carmon Funeral Home & Family Center, it was fitting that “May I be remembered for the work I’ve done” was embroidered on his coffin, Ladouceur Jr. said.
Avon Republicans will miss the “positive role” May played in the community, Ladouceur Jr. said. May was elected to the Town Council in November 2011 and was about to run for another term. He campaigned hard and went door-to-door shaking hands, Town Council Chairman Mark Zacchio said.
Many people also knew May as their dentist. He and his wife, Susan May ran a dental practice together in Newington since 1988. The two were married for 33 years.
People don’t always look forward to going to the dentist, but May made his patients comfortable, his staff said in a note Rev. Jerry Costley read at the funeral. He did magic tricks to distract nervous young patients and saw patients on holidays when emergencies arose.
Susan May referred to her husband as a “servant leader,” eager to serve people, whether it was his family, patients or staff, Christopher May’s brother-in-law Dr. Mark Versland said speaking on her behalf. May was comfortable with people of all backgrounds, according to Susan.
“We had a policy of never giving advice that we wouldn’t give to our own family,” Susan May said, as relayed by Versland.
Coworkers said that May was a good dentist who was more than a boss to them. He was a friend and family.
May made going to work fun, they said, whether it was playing garbage can basketball, making paper airplanes, having squirt gun fights or playing practical jokes. After taking dance lessons with Susan, the pair would practice their steps in the hallway of the dental office.
“They were more than partners of business. They were partners of life,” the Mays’ staff members wrote in the note.
The couple always arranged their work schedules around their children – Greg, Andy and Eric – and made sure that one of them was at the boys’ events while the other was working.
Family was very important to May. His favorite place to vacation with his family was Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire, where he enjoyed partaking in outdoor recreation like waterskiing, tubing, and rope swinging. Versland and May would get up early while their families were still asleep and race their boats on the lake.
May also enjoyed going to the shooting range.
When the family wasn’t traveling, May welcomed other people into his home. The family once hosted a foreign exchange student who played basketball at The Master’s School in Simsbury. The student often brought friends home and May would let them stay over without question, leading the Mays to jokingly call their house “May’s Home for Wayward Boys.”
May was “always willing to lend a hand,” Ladouceur Jr. said and “his service has made us a better community.”
“Chris was a man of words, but more importantly a man of action,” Ladouceur Jr. said quoting Avon Republican Town Committee Vice Chairman Steve Hunt.
“When I scheduled a meeting, I could always count on Chris and Susan being there,” Ladouceur Jr. said, calling the Mays his “most active and treasured members” who would always do something a little extra to make fundraisers and party events more memorable.
Zacchio said he met Chris and Susan May through the Republican Town Committee and served with May on the Council for 18 months.
“In that short time, not only did we grow together as council members, but we became friends and shared many laughs and many conversations about common interests,” Zacchio said. “As I got to know him better, his obvious love for his family was easy to embrace. His warm and friendly style to everyone he met was easy to like.”
May often came to town committee meetings and fundraisers with Susan, “dressed to the nines,” sometimes donning “wild costumes.” Some outfits included a silk Uncle Sam hat or a big elephant hat to a blue blazer and an ascot dressed as though he was Prince William just coming from the Royal Wedding to attend a town committee fundraiser, Zacchio said.
But his style didn’t only manifest in fashion and hair. His political colleagues and town officials consistently describe him as someone who stood by his convictions and did what was best for Avon. He never made decisions lightly, Zacchio said.
“His sense of right and wrong and his courage to defend it was easy to admire,” Zacchio said, noting that he made significant contributions “from the day he was sworn in to the day he left us too soon.”
“I know that his style and influence on the Council will remain as part of our fabric,” Zacchio said. “Chris, the work you’ve done speaks for you here today.”