Virginia Marie May

1953 - 2021



Virginia Marie May (67) of Duluth, MN passed away peacefully surrounded by her family on March 28, 2021. She was born to Rev Edward and Winifred May in Portland OR on May 24, 1953. Her family eventually moved to Evanston IL where she graduated from high school. She attended St Olaf College in Northfield, MN and graduated with a degree in religious studies. During college, she met the love of her life Wayne Jarvis and they were married July 19, 1975. She supported Wayne during medical school doing transcription and seamstress work in Minneapolis, MN. The couple moved to Lexington, KY where Wayne completed his residency in general surgery and they welcomed children Hannah and Helen. The family moved to Duluth, MN where Wayne started his practice in general surgery and their son Brent was born soon after.  Virginia devoted her time to child rearing and managing the household. She volunteered her time at schools, chaperoning various field trips and activities.  She was supportive, warm and nurturing to her children as well as their friends making her house a second home and an after school hang out. She was an excellent hostess and made everyone feel welcome.

As her children aged, she was able to focus energy on helping those within the community that were most in need; social justice efforts were a passion for Virginia. She drove for Meals on Wheels, stocked the food shelves at CHUM, served on the Board of Church and Society, the Board at Save Haven Women’s Shelter and other volunteer activities. She was also a chaplain both at St Mary’s Hospital and through her church. She assisted with the petition and planning for the Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial.

Virginia was a life-long bird watcher and found great joy in tending to her gardens which were admired by many. She was a skilled sewer and made fantastic Halloween costumes for her children as well as beautiful dresses for her girls. She knit love and warmth into her sweaters. She enjoyed daily long walks, often with close friends. She was a world traveler and appreciated learning about other cultures and traditions. She rode a Harley Davidson which provided additional opportunity for exploration. She began a yoga practice with daily mediation and eventually was certified in Kundalini Yoga and led classes for a number of years.

She is preceded in death by her parents, Edward and Winifred May and her husband Wayne Jarvis. She is survived by her children Hannah (Tom) Murphy, Helen (Matt) McKay, and Brent (Jenny) Jarvis; grandchildren Oliver and Evelyn Murphy and Murray McKay; her brothers Stephen (Sue) May, David (Debbie) May, and Lawrence (Linda) May and numerous nieces and nephews and other loving relatives and friends.

Due to the COVID pandemic a celebration of life will be planned at later date.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to CHUM or Safe Haven Women’s Shelter in Virginia’s name. Her life was greatly impacted by a childhood bicycle accident that led to Virginia’s early onset dementia and her family would urge helmet use for any activity that could result in traumatic brain injury.

Arrangements by Dougherty Funeral Home, 218-727-3555, Please visit to sign the online guestbook.

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Dougherty Funeral Home Duluth

600 East Second Street, Duluth, MN

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Lawrence and Linda

April 2, 2021 4:12 PM

Virginia was such a gift to the world! Hannah, Helen and Brent, you are the sparkling lights that carry on the joy that she gave to all of us! Love, Lawrence and Linda
Lawrence and Linda

A Grove of 3 Memorial Trees was planted in memory of Virginia Marie May

Lauri Cushing

April 5, 2021 5:02 PM

Dear Hannah, Helen, and Brett, I remember your mom from when you and my daughters were going to the same school. She was so friendly and full of fun. That smile could light up the world.  My deepest sympathy to you.

Shelvie Marie Anderson

April 4, 2021 1:30 PM

Our heartfelt sympathy to Hannah, Helen, Brent and all your family.  Virginia was so upbeat and fun to be around.  She's a beautiful person and I'm so thankful for her friendship over the years. We shared many adventures together and I will always cherish those memories.  Our family enjoyed the times spent together with your family. The years go by so quickly, but those treasured memories are forever. God be with you.  Sending you hugs and our love, Shelvie and Bruce Anderson

Olinda Fink

April 2, 2021 6:38 PM

My deepest sympathy to the May family.  My first remembrance of Virginia is as a lively five-year-old shortly after the family moved to Colorado, and connected with her a number of times in past years. She was special. May she rest in peace. 

Ruth Matters McPherson

April 2, 2021 1:20 PM

My cousin  Virginia:  enthusiasm, optimism, outgoing, smiling during her "normal" years.  God allowed her illness for His purposes.  I'll be praying for her family.  Thank you for writing such a loving obituary.  

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