Summing up Graham Brian May is a herculean task. He was brilliant, gruff, passionate, blunt; but above all else, loyal and generous. From getting coffee and toast for his wife and cutting up cantaloupe for his cat every morning to tracking his children’s airline flights from takeoff to landing and insisting he shuttle them back and forth to the airport, he showed his love every day to those around him. He was a proud grandfather, a friend, and a mentor. He loved the butchers at Lunardi’s, the boys at the Bull, his good friends from childhood and throughout life, his kids’ friends, the Dancing Bear crew and so many others. After what he declared “the best Christmas ever”, he died suddenly while visiting buddies in Waco, Texas, on January 1st at the age of 74. At his passing, all the love came into focus and we realized there was both no time to thank him, and no need; he knew how we all felt about him.
Born in Turlock, California, in 1943 to Kathleen Hughes and Graham May, Brian was spoiled by a doting mom and aunties while his dad was deployed in Europe. He carried that love of family and friends throughout his life. He graduated from Thomas Downey High School and then attended Baylor University on a track scholarship. At Baylor, he was a member of economic, business, and forensic honor societies and graduated in 1965 with a BBA in economics. He went on to earn an MBA in finance and management at the University of Miami in 1967.
In 1973 he joined forces with Susan Bauer May and for 44 years they adventured through life.
Brian began his business career at IBM, came of age at the Sisters of Mercy where he worked in information systems management, and spent time at Ernst & Whinney as a Principal and Director of Health Care Information Systems. He then joined First Consulting Group (healthcare technology and management) and became Senior Vice President of the Western Region. He retired as CIO of UCSF Stanford Health Care.
A Giants season ticket holder for nearly 50 years, the May “family dinners” were at the ballpark. Seeing his boys win three World Series was the reward for all those freezing nights at Candlestick Park with the other 500 fans. At AT&T Park he did a couple of turns on the three-legged stool as a “ball dude”. A loyal Baylor alumnus, he served on the Sesquicentennial Council of 150 which was charged with devising a 20 year strategic plan for the university. He also served on the Baylor Bear Foundation Board and endowed an athletic scholarship at the school.
Brian’s community service included the San Mateo County Civil Grand Jury, Rotary (Paul Harris Fellow), and 6 years on the Burlingame Beautification Commission.
Family, friends, golf, good wine and new restaurants, travel, good books, Hendricks martinis, farmers’ markets, fresh flowers, and cats were just a few of his favorite things.
He is survived by his wife Susan, his daughter Katie (son-in-law Chris and granddaughter Frankie) of Alameda, CA, and his son Brad (daughter-in-law Jen and grandchildren Peyton and Graham – his biggest fan!) of San Carlos, CA.
If you wish to make a donation in Brian’s memory, the family requests that it be directed to his endowed basketball scholarship at Baylor University, One Bear Place #97050, Waco, Tx 76798-7050. Please make checks payable to Baylor University and indicate Brian May Basketball Endowment.
A celebration of Brian’s life will be held at a later date. For additional information, please text Katie at 510-823-4575.