Cover photo for Robert R. May's Obituary
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1932 Robert 2021

Robert R. May

November 21, 1932 — July 15, 2021

Robert (Bob) Roswell May, 88, passed away on July 15, 2021 in Billings Clinic of old age complications. Bob was born in Great Falls, MT on November 21, 1932 to Claude and Susan (Thompson) May. He moved to Kalispell at a young age and called the Flathead home thereafter except for 2 years in the Army and a few final years in Lewistown, MT. After graduating from Flathead High School in 1950 he married his high school sweetheart, Jackie Peterson, in 1951 and became father to two girls.

Bob was a constant hard worker and was never without a project to finish into his final days. He was a mechanic for the State Highway Dept and the Department of State Lands and upon retirement he continued repairing, building and working in his own shop. Restoring a Diamond T truck and a Reo tractor were just two of his proudest accomplishments. He was also a founding member of the West Valley Fire Dept, serving as chief for a year. Antique engines were another hobby and he had a lot of fun showing them at engine shows for many years.

Spending time outdoors was Bob's real passion and he spent many weekends camping with Jackie and their friends collectively known as the Lazy 8. In the winter he snowmobiled all over the valley and especially enjoyed the overnight snowmobile trips with his more hardy companions. Camping trips to Alaska were his favorite destination and he would share stories of all his adventures with anyone who would listen and laugh with him.

Bob was a mechanic, a fireman, an engineer, a tree farmer, a woodsman, a tractor driver, a forklift operator, a fisherman, an outdoorsman and he was a kind man who loved a good joke, a loving husband and a wonderful father and grandfather.

He is survived by his wife of 69 years Jackie of Lewistown; his two children, Gail Ohnstad of Orlando, FL and Reta (Steven) Knox of Winifred, MT; six grandchildren, 15 great grandchildren, 1 great, great grandchild and numerous nieces and nephews.

Bob was preceded in death by his parents and sisters, Jesse and Laberta, brothers, Vernon and Conna, his granddaughter Monica, and great granddaughter, Sarah.

No services are planned at this time, but a celebration of life will be held later in Kalispell where Bob will be laid to rest at the Glacier Memorial Gardens which overlooks the valley and his childhood home near the Bald Rock area.

Friends may make memorials to the charity of their choice and they may be left with the Cloyd Funeral Home. Condolences for the family may be posted online at

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Robert R. May, please visit our flower store.


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