2009: George May Jun 19, 2009  (10 years ago)

By Randy King
Jun 19, 2009, 10:18

George May to be honored by Roanoke Valley golf Hall of Fame

George May's sudden death in October 2007 shook the area's golfing community.

If there has ever been a no-brainer decision for the Roanoke Valley Golf Hall of Fame inductee selection board, it came this spring when the discussion turned to the name of the late George May.

Talk about your proverbial "gimme."

May, whose sudden death at 62 from a heart attack in October 2007 rocked the area golf community, will be inducted posthumously into the Hall of Fame at the organization's season-ending banquet in November.

"George May did so much for golf here in Roanoke," said Miller Baber, one of the valley's top players for years.

"George was a giver to the game. He spent countless hours running tournaments. And he would stop and help any young kid who played golf. He loved to teach the short game to the kids.

"George would do anything for anybody. He loved people and people loved him."

May served as chairman for the Roanoke Valley Golf Association for a quarter of century before the organization dissolved eight years ago.

He then became an integral part of the tournament committee for the Roanoke Valley Match Play Championship, which replaced the former Valley Amateur that was run by the RVGA.

May, a native of Martinsville, had taught at Salem High School for 23 years until his death. He taught at Martinsville High (1967-76) and James River High (1977-83) before moving to Salem.

May not only ran many a tournament, he also knew how to play the game proficiently. He was a part-time teaching professional in his days in Martinsville.

May never won a major tournament in the area, but that was OK. He always bragged his biggest claim to fame on the golf course was ousting heavily favored Dan Keffer in match play at the old Valley Amateur in the mid-1980s. The late Keffer was one of the strongest players ever to come out of the valley and was runner-up in the 1981 State Amateur.

"Everyone in golf around must have heard that story about 15 times," said Rob Landis, May's close friend and frequent golfing partner at Hanging Rock. "Until this day, he's smiling about the day he beat Dan Keffer."

Testimony of May's presence on the area golf scene has come since his death. The RV Match Play trophy is named the "George May Cup."

Plus, the second annual George May Memorial tournament will be held July 18 at Hanging Rock.

The event funds two $1,000 scholarships in his name, one that goes to Salem High and another that goes with the HOF's yearly awards to area students.

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