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William (Bill) May, of Milan, Missouri, age 88, passed away on Friday, October 8, 2021, at his home.

William (Bill) May was born to Merrill Sylvin May and Mary Lorene (Whitaker) May on August 29, 1933, North of Milan, Missouri.

Bill married Dorothy June (Preston) May on May 18, 1953, in Brookfield, Missouri. He went to work in Wild West Shows.

He was preceded in death by his parents, mother-in-law, and father-in-law; daughter, Billie Zane May; son, Lance May, and daughter-in-law, Selena May.

Bill is survived by his wife, June, grandson, Bryce (Jaclyn) May, one great grandson, Alex May, and two great granddaughters, Shelby (Tyler) Kidd and Lexi May.

After graduation of Milan High School in 1951 he was drafted into the US Army in June 1953 and was released in June 1955 after the Korean War was over.

Bill (better known as “Cowboy Bill”) worked for 25 years as a bronc rider then later a pick-up man for James Sears Rodeo. He once stated that he worked 60 straight days at the rodeo one summer traveling all over the United States. After retiring from the rodeo, he worked 10 years in Oklahoma on ranches.

In 1960, he came back to Missouri to the farm where he raised cattle and horses. The worst injury he said he can remember is when he broke his neck at Kirksville and spent three months in traction in the Kirksville Hospital.

He and June co-owned the Milan Livestock Auction with Ray Olson and wife.

When Bill was asked where he learned to ride, he said, “There was a guy named Bill Erwin from South Carolina that came to Milan in a covered wagon and put on Wild West Shows. Mr. Erwin has been a Golden Glove boxer previously. At that time the rider got $1.00 a ride. In Illinois and Indiana, he got $10.00 a ride, not bad money at that time.”

Bill loved sitting on the porch visiting, going to rodeos, and peddling tack.

Bill’s wishes were to be cremated and a graveside service will be held 2:00 PM, Sunday, October 17, 2021, at Oakwood Cemetery in Milan. Schoene-Ruschmeier Funeral Home in Milan is handling arrangements.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the family.