Herman E. May
My father, Herman May was born January 3, 1920 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The youngest of seven children, he was raised during the Great Depression. As a child growing up in the big city, he learned many valuable life lessons at an early age. The May family struggled at times, but they always pulled together with a firm belief in family, faith, and a determination to persevere.
During his service to the Navy in World War II, Herman met and began dating my wonderful mother Lois. After a short romance ending with an engagement on Christmas Day, they wed in a quaint chapel in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and eventually moved to the small town of Erie to start a family. While my mother cared for the first of three children, my father attended Gannon College on the GI bill and earned the credits necessary to attend Penn State University. As a student at Penn State, he took an interest in horticulture and eventually graduated Pi Alpha Xi in Floriculture.
Unable to decide if they enjoyed the warmth and sunshine of southern California or the seasons and beauty of the Pennsylvania woods, my mother and father traveled back and forth across the country. Although my father never lost the desire to return to his beloved State College, Pennsylvania, the opportunity and climate in California proved irresistible.
With the skills acquired at Penn State, Herman brought his knowledge of potted chrysanthemum production to Encinitas, California. He pioneered and introduced many of the techniques for year round chrysanthemum culture that are still in practice today. After demonstrating and establishing programs for several other growers, he decided to branch out on his own.
Settling in the small town of Leucadia, California with three children in tow, my father's dream of owning a greenhouse business began in the back yard of the family home. With commitment, dedication, and plenty of hard work, my parents sowed the seeds of a small flower growing operation. Through the many, joys, triumphs, hardships, and heartaches of owning a greenhouse, Herman never lost sight of those early childhood tenets of family, faith and the determination to persevere.
There are so many words that could be used to summarize a persons life in a few short phrases, but for my dad, they all seem to fall short. He was an exceptional flower grower, a lover of classical music, a humble man with a deep faith in God, and a tremendous father with a great love for his wife and children. We will always miss his warm, welcoming handshake, great sense of humor and terrific smile.