Preceded in death by her husband of 65 years William Z. May, daughter Barbara May and son William B. May. She is survived by her children: Robert (Sharon) May, Aggie (Robert) Staebell, Joseph (Cindy) May, Marcie May, Mary (Mike) Steeno. Grandchildren Colleen May, Michael May, Bryan May, Kathleen (Joe) Logsdon, Mary May, Tom Steeno, Laura (Andrew) Schoenberg, Sarah Staebell, Lauren Merten, Patrick (Laura) May, Bridget (Matt) O’Hara, Corey (Lindsey) May. Great-grandchildren Hailey, Rosalie, Owen, Molly, Brennan, Scarlett, Claire, Conner, and Grant.
Sarah Jane was born on June 1, 1927 to John J. Brennan and Ida (Waters) Brennan ‘on the kitchen table’ according to family lore, in their farmhouse near Pacific Mo, because – ‘that’s what you did’.
She was raised on the farm with her older brother James, older sister Rosemary, and younger brother Jack. Like many Irish families in the area, they were self-sustaining but also depended on one another as a community in the parish of St. Patrick of Armaugh (The Old Rock Church).
Sarah spoke often of her cousins and extended families who lived on farms nearby– the McNamees, Phelans, Daileys, Buschers, Murphys, Cradicks and Mangans.
Sarah understood the joys of mischief- surely inspired by her fun-loving sister Rose, but tempered by the watchful eye of her more conservative brother James. She loved life on the farm as a child gathering eggs, feeding the pigs, milking cows and churning butter.
Sarah attended McNamee School – her uncle Joe McNamee was the schoolmaster, in the 1-room schoolhouse that still stands today as a single family residence on McNamee School Road. With all 8 grades in the same room, there were 6 in her graduating class.
As teens, Sarah and Rose attended St. Joseph’s Academy while residing with their aunt and uncle Doc and Anne (Brennan) McHugh on S. Kingshighway at Rhodes Ave.
Sarah learned to cope with tragedy when her father was injured in a car accident in 1937 at age 42, spending the rest of his life in a wheelchair. And her brother Jack was killed in a car crash at the age of 21.
While working in downtown St. Louis for the Wabash railroad, Sarah met her husband of 65 years, Bill May. They married in 1949 and raised 7 children. First in a cement block building in Pacific, moving to Normandy in the early 50s, then to Richmond Heights in 1960- 5 doors down from St. Luke the Evangelist church on Dale Ave.
Sarah was active on the school board at St. Luke’s where she met lifelong friend and confidant, the late Anna Brinley.
After raising her family, Sarah had the opportunity to serve as the manager of a Department of Revenue office (also known as the DMV). She served in that role for some 20 years, first in the Rock Hill office then moving to Deer Creek. Sarah gained many friends as she helped the often frantic mobs navigate the muddy waters of owning and operating a motor vehicle in Missouri.
Sarah and her sister Rosemary had a bond that is hard to describe. Rosemary and her husband Jack Reineck raised their 7 kids in south St. Louis as the May kids grew up in Richmond Heights. Sarah and Rose spoke at least once a day on the telephone and never lost their girlish enthusiasm when they were together. Their admiration for one another was palpable. The May and Reineck families are still very close today as a result, seeming more like brothers and sisters than cousins.
After Bill retired as an IBEW electrician, they moved to Crestwood where Sarah was active in ‘The Marthas’ at St. Justin parish and at Our Lady of Providence parish.
Intensely proud of her Irish heritage, she assumed the role of family archivist with the passing of her aunt Mary Brennan. With several binders of photos, documents and memorabilia, she contributed articles to other historians and co-authored a book of Brennan family history with her cousin Kathleen Brennan Danna.
Sarah was a devoted wife and mother, artist and musician.
The consummate grandmother, every Sunday all the kids and grandkids would gather at their home for a wonderful home-cooked meal, a few beers, and lots of laughs providing lasting memories.
Never a complaint and always calm but persuasive, she led by example and treated everyone like they were the only one in the room.
Sarah leaves a legacy of kindness and hope – guided by her upbringing and her faith, believing until her last breath that all people are ‘good’. She was an amazing woman and a great inspiration to so many. She will truly be missed, but her family and friends are blessed to have had her in their lives for so many years.
Memorial Service to be scheduled at a later date.
Memorial donations to: Saint Louis ARC, 1177 N. Warson Rd. Saint Louis, MO 63132 https://www.slarc.org/donate/