Denny May



MAY, Denny Reid 1935-2021

Storyteller, aviation historian, lifelong Scout, enthusiast of Canada’s North, anglophile, and master of the closed smile, Denny died peacefully at home on October 3, 2021. Predeceased by mother Violet and father Wilfrid ‘Wop’ May, famous Alberta bush pilot. Much loved and forever remembered by his devoted wife Margaret; son David May (Kimberly); stepdaughters Tracy Rowan(Steve) and Joanna Rowan; grandson Rory Connors; nieces; cousins; and special extended family Jon Hall (Kathy), Jan Millson, and Rick Johnson. This kind, caring, and mischievous man was born in Edmonton. At age 22, Denny backpacked across Europe with childhood friend Dave King, his first of many such trips abroad. His life of adventure continued with Marg, travelling across Canada, down the US west coast, the UK, Ireland, France, and twice a year visits to beautiful Saltspring Island. Among his favourite destinations were Yellowknife and remote Northern communities with their warm people, awe-inspiring landscapes, and rich culture.

In his professional role as Executive Director for Scouts Canada for Northern Alberta and the Northwest Territories, Denny relished the opportunity to build and support Scouting for children to learn and grow through friendship, skill-building, and being in the great outdoors. For years, he organized and attended national and international Scout Jamborees with David enthusiastically joining him, creating lifetime memories. Denny held a pilot’s licence and was a longtime member of the Edmonton Flying Club. He delighted in taking his family and friends up in small planes, showing them Edmonton by air. Denny and David attended air shows and visited aviation museums whenever possible. Denny was a talented photographer and took thousands of photos while avoiding being in most of them. Creative to the core, he excelled at painting and stained glass. An amazing collector of coins, stamps, Scout and aircraft memorabilia, he mastered trading and sales on Ebay.

Denny and Marg were meant for each other and fell in love over old-fashioned letter writing. They were true partners in Scouting, aviation, and life, and always held hands. He was a brave soul living with two girls whose squabbling made him laugh. He loved Tracy and Joanna just as they were his own and they felt the same way. A giver of the best hugs, Denny was always there with words of wisdom or a silent squeeze of their hands. He was very proud of all his children’s accomplishments. When grandson Rory arrived, it was like the sun shone all around him. Incredibly close, you could often find them at a park, having snacks or cuddling on a couch watching the Discovery Channel. Denny was quietly generous with time and money - volunteering at many events, charities, and sitting on boards such as the Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame. With such a big heart, we were happy to share him with other people and countless friends. Upon retiring, Denny worked with late sister-in-law Sheila Reid on Wop May books; and gave presentations at Alberta schools and organizations on Wop’s incredible career. You could often find Denny being interviewed about Alberta’s aviation history in the news and documentaries. What a life of adventure and service to others that Denny led. Now we imagine he is flying high with his father and other loved ones, sometimes gently waving the wings in a silent greeting to us. In these days of COVID, a small memorial service will be held. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Alberta Aviation Museum.

In Loving Memory of
Denny May
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