Phyllis May
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Phyllis May, age 91, of Grand Island, Nebraska and previously of Yankton, South Dakota, died on Sunday, January 27, 2019 at St. Francis Hospital in Grand Island.

Funeral services are 2:00 PM, on Friday, February 1, 2019 at the Wintz & Ray Funeral Home in Yankton with Reverend Dani Jo Bierwagen officiating. Burial will be in the Garden of Memories Cemetery in Yankton. Visitation begins one hour prior to the funeral on Friday at the Wintz & Ray Funeral Home.

Phyllis was born March 16, 1927 in Bird City, Kansas to Clyde and Bernice (Neel) Sawyer. Growing up during the Great Depression, Phyllis attended country schools in both Colorado and Nebraska. She completed her high school education in 1945 at Humphrey High in Humphrey, NE. To prepare for a teaching career, she earned her 2 year degree at Wayne State College in Wayne, NE and her 4 year degree at Colorado State College of Education in Greeley, CO. Her teaching career began at a country school near Humphrey, NE and later, North Platte, NE. On August 10, 1953, Phyllis married Irvin May of Niobrara, NE at Bremerton, WA. Her teaching career resumed in San Leandro, CA while her husband served in the U.S. Navy. She taught her last 30 years in Santa Clara, CA. Raising her family and working with young children were very satisfying years for her.

She retired from teaching in 1982. She and Irvin then moved to Yankton, SD where they enjoyed their retirement years together. Phyllis's hobbies were many. She loved flower and vegetable gardening, quilting, and cooking for guests. As a result of her passion for birthdays, she kept in touch with many friends and relatives through the years. She enjoyed spending time with her friends and neighbors, and following her favorite football team, the San Francisco 49ers.

Phyllis is survived by her two children, Charlene (Bruce) Saunders of Meridian, ID and Chris (Ellen) May of Grand Island, NE; brother, Lyle (Maryann) Sawyer of Phillipsburg, KS; sister, Brenda Bowcut of Lincoln, CA; sister in law, Betty Sawyer of Wichita, KS; six grandchildren: Julia and Michelle Saunders, Kimberly (Steve) deJong, Andrew (Amy) May, Andrea (Jake) Ritzdorf and Nicholas May; seven great grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.

Phyllis was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Irvin May; granddaughter, Amanda May; brother, Larry Sawyer; and sister, Linda Melcher.




Messages will be reviewed and posted within 1 business day.

What a sweet, caring and genuine lady Phyllis was! I am so glad I got a chance to meet and know her here at Sagewood! We will all missing her smile around the halls. Deepest Sympathy

Pam Grossart


So sorry for your loss. Thinking of you all. Phyllis will be missed at Heritage.

Marty and Butch Gordon Brandy and Dustin


Will miss our visits about the 49rs game's. My thoughts are with the family.

Brad Fried


She was a remarkable lady! I always enjoyed seeing and visiting with her. Prayers of comfort sent.

Brenda Bandt


My sister and I were sharing our early childhood memories of Mrs. May as our substitute teacher and Mission Hill elementary in the 1980's. She was such a sweet person and looking back we both knew what a mark she left on our lives through her encouragement and passion for education.

Travis Cooke


Our deepest and most sincere sympathy to all the May family in the loss of such a wonderful kind & caring woman. As our neighbor for many years, Phyllis and Irv brought unity and much love to our country community. We have such warm memories of them both.

Tim and Jeanie Shafer


So sorry to hear about the loss of Phyllis. We enjoyed many family get togethers when Phylllis and Irvin lived in Ca. and also in S.D. We have great memories of both of them. Our deepest sympathies to her family.

Gary May


I am sorry to hear of your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with the May family. I always enjoyed seeing Phyllis at the dental office. Phyllis has a special place in my heart. I will miss her.

Kayleen Kaiser


Our condolences on the loss of your mother. My parents lived about a mile north of Irvin & Phyllis. They were Arnold and Florence Lee. They were all good friends and Phyllis belonged to the Gayville flower club along with mom. My wife and I had one of Irvin's pressure cooked meals somewhere in the mid to late 90's. Very good. We enjoyed seeing the hand corn shellers, clocks and quilts that they worked on. I remember once when Irvin wanted squirrels to feed as well as birds. Dad live trapped one and turned it loose in the trees just west across the road from their house. It return to the Lee Farm. The next one dad trapped and released he spray painted the tail with red spray paint to ID it. I don't remember if that one stayed but eventually they got squirrels established for them.

David Lee

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