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Franklin Co. Commissioner John May, CWA, Dead at 67

Jeremy Sprinkle
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From Southern Bell to the North Carolina General Assembly, a champion for working people

Franklin County Commissioner and long-time member of the Communications Workers of America (CWA), John M. May, died peacefully Wednesday, May 31st after battling cancer. John was 67 years old.

John grew up in Franklin County but left after graduating high school to serve his country in the U.S. Army. When he returned home, John went to work at Southern Bell, where he met and married into one family with wife, Vickie Gay, and joined his other family - the labor movement.

"John saw the need to stand up for the men and women he worked alongside," reads his obituary.

"Never afraid to be a champion for what is right, John joined the Communication Workers of America Local 3611 in Raleigh. He spent over a decade as a lobbyist for NC CWA Council advocating for workers' rights and safety."

In 1992, John was appointed to the North Carolina Department of Labor's Advisory Council on Occupational Safety and Health, and the North Carolina State AFL-CIO honored John with its P.R. Latta Rank-And-File Award "for outstanding service to the labor movement."

"We are deeply saddened to hear about the passing of our brother, John May, a stalwart and passionate advocate for workers' right to organize and right to safe workplaces," said James Andrews, President of the NC State AFL-CIO.

"Brother May touched and improved the lives of many working people as a local school board member, county commissioner, member of the North Carolina General Assembly, and as legislative director for the North Carolina CWA Council. Our condolences goes out to John's family and friends."

Earlier this year, Governor Roy Cooper recognized John's lifetime of extraordinary service by inducting him into The Order of the Long Leaf Pine - the highest honor that a governor can bestow on a North Carolina citizen.

"John believed in helping others and was rewarded by having a loving family, many friends, and a church home," said Tom Coley, past president of the NC CWA Council. "He will be missed by all."

A memorial service will be held on Sunday, June 4, 2017 at 4:00 p.m. at the Seby B. Jones Performing Arts Center at Louisburg College, 501 North Main Street, Louisburg, North Carolina. The family will receive friends immediately following the service. In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to the Franklin County United Way, P.O. Box 342 Louisburg, NC 27549 or the White Level Volunteer Fire Department, 2465 White Level Rd. Louisburg, NC 27549.