John R. May - Obituary - Longtime supporter of The Walker Percy Project and Noted Religion and Film Scholar

Henry Mills wppdirector at
Sat Jan 18 10:20:02 EST 2014

Dear Percy-L Community,

For those of us who knew him, I have the sad news to share of the 
passing of John R. ("Jack") May this past December 21 in Baton Rouge,

An originating board member and ongoing supporter of The Walker Percy 
Project, Jack reached countless students with his kindness and always 
cheerful wit during his more than 35-year tenure at Louisiana State 
University as a professor and longtime chair of the Department of 
English.  As a former Jesuit and religious studies and film scholar -- 
alongside his perennial encouragement of his students -- Jack also did 
much to introduce the public in central Louisiana to Walker Percy's key 
writings and ideas through the humanities discussion programs he 
organized in public libraries. Most recently, he served as a valued 
adviser to the Dewey Winburne Biography Project, who also was an early 
supporter of the educational aims of the Percy Project.

I, along with many others, will miss Jack's kindness, his wise (and 
often wry) manner of mentorship, and his daily and living witness to the 
manifest love of Christ.  On all levels, Jack's was a life lived well as 
shared with and rewarded by the joyous companionship of his wife Janet, 
a love and belonging they each deserved so well together and which they 
shared so freely to touch others.

I hope you will take a moment to read his obituary below and join me in 
offering thanks be to God for the lives of Jack and Janet May, and 
blessings now and on into the future on their family.

Henry Mills

In honor of Jack (and Janet), along with this post, I'd like to invite 
those in the Percy-L community who knew Jack to share any remembrances 
they may wish to offer for inclusion in the list's permanent archives. 
These remembrances and those from the Lake Lawn Metairie Funeral Home in 
New Orleans will be posted to the list.

For those who are interested in Jack's insightful and keen mind as they 
live on in his writings, many of which treat Flannery O'Connor as 
another topic of interest to the list, I include below a listing of his 
career book publications.


     John R. May (1931-2013) - The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, LA;
     published Dec. 23-25, 2013

     A resident of Baton Rouge, he died Saturday, December 21, 2013 at
     11:40 p.m. surrounded by his children. He was 82 and a native of New
     Orleans, Louisiana. He was an Alumni Professor of English and
     Religious Studies, Emeritus at LSU. Prior to his time at LSU he
     served God and his community as a Jesuit Priest. He was a beloved
     scholastic to his students of Jesuit High School. His career at LSU
     lasted from 1976 to 2012 during which he taught courses in religion,
     literature and film and served as chairman of the English
     department. He received his Ph.D. in literature and religion from
     Emory University and authored and edited several books on religious
     symbolism in film and American literature. He will be remembered as
     a kind spiritual man who gave freely of his time in the service of
     his family and friends. Wearing a perpetual smile, he guided many on
     their journey through the difficulties of the human experience. He
     was a devoted husband, father, and brother. He was known lovingly to
     many as "DaddyJack". He will be dearly missed. He is survived by his
     sons, John D. May and Charles Taylor Walet, III; a daughter Jan W.
     Keller; and 8 grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife
     Janet P. May; parents, Henry G. and Corinne Sbisa May and Lutille
     Pomarede Santana; a brother, Col. Donald F. May, USMC; and a
     daughter Julie W. Poyadou. In lieu of flowers, the family gratefully
     requests donations to the Baton Rouge Food Bank,, for those who wish to honor Jack in this
     way. Relatives and friends are invited to attend the Funeral Mass in
     the Chapel of Lake Lawn Metairie Funeral Home, 5100 Pontchartrain
     Blvd., Thursday, December 26, 2013 at 1:00 p.m. Visitation will
     begin at 11:00 a.m. until service time. Interment will follow in
     Metairie Cemetery. Please view and sign the Family Guestbook, at
------------------------------------------------------------------------ PUBLICATIONS OF JOHN R. MAY, PHD (former S.J.) BOOKS: *Toward a New Earth: Apocalypse in the American Novel.* Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1972. *Film Odyssey: The Art of Film as Search for Meaning.* Coauthor, Ernest Ferlita. New York: Paulist Press, 1976. *The Pruning Word: The Parables of Flannery O'Connor.* Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1976. *The Parables of Lina Wertmuller.* Coauthor, Ernest Ferlita. New York: Paulist Press, 1977. *Nourishing Faith through Fiction: Reflections of the Apostles' Creed in Literature and Film.* Franklin, WI: Sheed and Ward, 2001. EDITED COLLECTIONS OF ORIGINAL ESSAYS: *The Bent World: Essays on Religion and Culture.* Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1981. *Religion in Film.* Coed. Michael Bird. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1982. *Image and Likeness: Religious Visions in American Film Classics.* New York: Paulist Press, 1992. *New Image of Religious Film.* Kansas City: Sheed and Ward, 1997. ************************************* Henry Mills, Director & Editor The Walker Percy Educational Project, Inc. wppdirector at

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