“The children are our future. That’s where it starts,” says Vera May, a 103-year-old Huffman icon. Photo by Bruce Olson

People who influence their community in positive ways are often recognized with landmarks named after them. Yet, as time marches on, the people who enjoy those landmarks seldom think about the history of the people behind them. Who were they? What did they do? Why the landmark?
Huffman’s I. T. May Park and May Community Center is that kind of landmark. The legend behind it is Vera May May and she is still going strong at the age of 103.
May’s maiden name was Vera May Brummett. She was born on a farm in Lexington, Texas, on July 22, 1913, but did not remain there long. Her father moved the family to Galena Park, Texas. She was the oldest of four, with one brother and two sisters. She graduated from Galena Park High School as valedictorian in 1931 and worked in a grocery store both before and after graduation. May remembers those times well.
“It was the Depression; I was making a dollar a day to help my dad buy groceries even though he had a job,” May said.
It was during those hard times that Vera May Brummett met her husband to be – a man named May.
“My dad brought him home for dinner and that’s when I met him. I was 16, he was 19,” said May. 
Four years later, in 1933, Vera married Irby Taft May from Huffman and became Vera May May. 
Their first years of marriage were spent in Franklin, La., where Irby worked as a dispatcher with a gas company. Irby always wanted to get back to Huffman to farm, so they returned to Galena Park where he was still employed by the gas company to work on its pipelines. Both worked hard and saved for their dream, a farm in Huffman.
“Irby teamed up with a builder,” May said. 
As their dreams came nearer to reality, she became the owner of the grocery store where she had previously worked in Galena Park. It was named the May Grocery Store.
In 1945, the Mays were able to realize their dream. They acquired land that would grow into their 5,800-acre farm in Huffman, including the 69 acres of land that is now I.T. May Park and May Community Center.
“We were cattle and rice farmers,” said May. “We were very successful. We had a lot of cattle and horses and things that kids like to do, like bringing their friends over to ride horses. We had a good life.”
She cooked daily for the 15 to 20 men who worked on their farm, which required a lot of food.
“I had to drive to Galena Park once a week in a panel truck to get the groceries,” she said.
May described how the roads were dirt that turned into impassable mud whenever it rained. 
“You looked up in the sky and, if it looked OK, you just went. If it looked like rain, you didn’t.”
The Mays had four children. One died, but the other three live within an hour’s drive of May's home. Her children have provided May with generations of grandchildren. 
“I have 13 grandchildren, 22 great-grandchildren and five great-great-grandchildren,” said May.
During the years on the farm, both Mays were active in the community beyond the farm, which left their mark on Huffman and its people.
“My husband built a bank in Huffman called the Huffman Bank. It is still there, only it’s Wells Fargo now. He was the owner. He was big in FFA and helped the boys to get their calves to shows and things like that,” May said.
“I have been involved in the schools and other things. I did not teach, but I would go down to the schools and talk once or twice a week to students and talk with children that needed help that didn’t have anybody and needed somebody to talk to,” she said.
“The children are our future, that’s where it starts. If you care for your community, your friends and your family, that’s what you do,” she said.
May was active in the local garden club and in other activities, including the Huffman Lions Club. 
“I was in all of the local things,” said May.
 Asked what she loves to do, she said, “I have never done anything that I didn’t enjoy, including cooking for cowhands and farmers. I felt like I was doing something worthwhile. If we leave this earth feeling like we have been an asset instead of a burden, that is what I am trying to do.”
Irby May died in 1978. Vera May remained on the farm for eight years. It was during that period that May donated the land for May Park and May Community Center.
“Irby said he always wanted to give back to Huffman something to be remembered by,” May said.
The decision to finally give up the farm was difficult. 
“I lived on the ranch eight years after I lost my husband, but I was alone.”
The farm and the huge farmhouse became too much for her to handle, so she moved into a home in Atascocita in 1986. After 30 years in Atascocita where she was active in her card clubs and “other things,” she moved to Watercrest Retirement Living at Kingwood last November. The move was at her family’s suggestion and she agreed, given her declining mobility and vision.
Vera May said she used to love reading romance stories and American history. She may not be able to read about history now, but she is a big part of it, especially the Huffman part. She is a legend still going strong.

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