May Barbara Martin
- May or Mayo to her siblings and friends, Nana to Kiah, Auntie May to everyone else, passed away on Friday April 13th at Morristown Memorial Hospital. Born May Barbara Davis Bell in Cabimas, Maracaibo Venezuela on May 1st 1931, she was the second child and the first daughter of Theophilus St. Clair and Angela Providencia Davis (Mamacita) who ultimately had 12 children (6 boys and 6 girls).
May is survived by her daughter Debra Sandler and her granddaughter Kiah Sandler. She is also survived by stepsons Glenn and Vaughan Martin; by step grandchildren Avery, Mark and Jenilee; by her sisters Grace Blake, Mavis Escollies, Clare Proctor, Nora Matelis and Norma Zethoff; and by her brother Noel Davis.
With such a large and loving family she was also Aunt to a host of nieces, nephews, great nieces and great great nieces all around the world in Germany, Portugal, Italy, Holland, Norway, Trinidad and Tobago, USA, Puerto Rico, Canada, Chile, Argentina and of course Venezuela.
She was pre-deceased by brothers Theophilus, George, Norman, Robert and James Davis; by husband George De La Grenade; and by husband Jack Martin.
May lived a full and global life, migrating several times for love and for job opportunities. In 1938 she migrated from Venezuela to Trinidad at age 7 with her mother and XX brothers and sisters. There she attended St. Joseph's Convent before marrying George de la Grenade (Georgie) in 1954. May returned to her beloved Venezuela as an adult to work for Shell Oil and gave birth to her one and only daughter Debra there. Soon after Debra's birth, May and Georgie returned to Trinidad and lived happily until his untimely death in 1967.
For many years she worked as an Executive Administrative Assistant at the Port Authority of Trinidad and Tobago and was very active in the National Secretaries Association. She was a strong and independent woman who raised her daughter Debra on her own terms.
May migrated again in 1982, this time for love, from Trinidad to Winnipeg Canada where she lived happily after marrying Jack Martin (Jackie). What a fortunate woman to have experienced two great loves and marriages!
After Jack's death in 2004, she remained in Winnipeg until 2011 when she migrated again - this time to the US. Here she lived in Freeport NY with her sister Mavis, and with siblings Grace and Noel nearby.
A great love of music was inherited from her mother (Mamacita) who sang and played the cuatro. May so loved music that she learned to play the steel pan and became a tenor pannist with the Winnipeg Steel Orchestra at age 52. We are still not sure how she did it but she even got Jackie to join the band as a bass player! The members of this band were some of her very best friends in Canada - how she so loved them! She also enjoyed singing with her sisters and one of her favorite TV programs was The Lawrence Welk Show. A week before her passing we enjoyed a 5 hour Lawrence Welk marathon thanks to YouTube! She was "in her glee" as she would say.
Her other great love was food! Cooking and eating food was a favorite pastime and many hours were spent around the kitchen table discussing different foods, where to get them and how best to prepare them and most importantly, how to eat them! A product of the Depression era, she believed that food must never be wasted so she did her part and cleared her plate every time!
Gentle, kind, loving, friendly, funny, warm and strong. These were adjectives often used to describe May. She was especially known for her sense of humor and her close family members will long remember her direct commentary about our weight issues!
May spent her life caring for and about her family which was the most important thing in her world. She was intensely proud of all their accomplishments and so happy to be living in Long Island with so many family members nearby. She was especially grateful to her sister Mavis whose loving hands cared for her every need in her last years after Parkinson's disease made life a bit more difficult. It is befitting that her family surrounds her today as we prepare for her journey Home.
Rest In Peace dear beautiful May. We will meet again one day.
To send flowers or a remembrance gift to the family of May Martin, please visit our Tribute Store.