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Friends, colleagues remember Capt. Dick May

November 8, 2017
By ED FRANKS ( , Pine Island Eagle

Long-time Pine Island resident, fishing guide and charter captain Richard "Dick" May died on Oct. 12, 2017, in Lee's Summit, Missouri, due to complications from a stroke. He was 80 years old.

May was a long-time contributor to the Pine Island Eagle with his weekly Catch 'em and Cook 'em recipes. May and his companion Jeanne Adams, wrote three cookbooks and "Capt. Dick's Seafood & Southern Country Cooking" was available for many years on

Born in Topeka Kansas, May lived most of his life in Missouri but spent nearly all of his last 17 years as a resident of Pine Island Florida.

Article Photos

Capt. Dick May

Buzzy Phillips, owner of Raymond James, knew May for many years.

"Believe it or not, Dick and I are from the same small neighborhood in Missouri Lake Winnebago," Phillips said. "Dick was the general manager of a restaurant in Kansas City with a passion for food and for fishing. As I understand it, he visited here on a fishing trip, fell in love with the place, and moved here."

May began his love with food at a young age. His parents ran country clubs and his mother was known as a fabulous cook. May's first career was in the food industry when he worked as the manager of a local inn. He later went on to become president of the Specialty Restaurant Division of Gilbert Robinson, where he was instrumental in developing the Houlihan's restaurant concept.

May "retired" to Pine Island in 1999, but it didn't take long before he grew tired of retirement. He obtained his Coast Guard Captains License and began doing fishing charters and officiated at the occasional wedding.

"Easy Rider Charters was one of our fishing guide businesses here at the Pine Island Chamber of Commerce," Executive Director Jennifer Jennings said. "Dick had a deep understating of the local waters and he knew how to catch those fish. Whenever Dick came in he'd entertain us with some of his fishing stories. Often guests who had fished with Dick would come back to tell us just how much fun they had fishing with Dick May. Dick was a great fishing guide."

May contributed a recipe article every week to the Pine Island Eagle for 16 years. He also wrote fishing articles for several Southwest Florida magazines. One of those magazines was "Nautical Mile."

"It was 12 or 13 years ago that Dick contacted me suggesting he write a fishing column for 'Nautical Mile,'" magazine owner Jim Griffiths said. "Dick was a fabulous self promoter and knew that getting his name out there in the public with local media companies was a good partnership. Every month for the last 12 or 13 years he forwarded his article."

May began having health problems in 2016 and late last year May's longtime companion, Adams, moved into an Alzheimer's facility.

"When Jeanne left to go to an Alzheimer's center, Dick just fell apart," Griffiths said. "And when he couldn't run his charters and get out on the water he just got worse."

In March May wrote a Letter to the Editor saying he was leaving the island to live closer to his son in Kansas. He said, "I have made many wonderful friends from all over the U.S., Canada and Europe, and have the best neighbors I have ever had. I will miss Pine Island."

May suffered a stroke in late September and was residing in a hospice when he died Oct. 12.

"His death put me in a personal state of shock," Griffiths said. "I grew up without a dad's mentorship and Capt. Dick practically adopted me. He was someone I could talk to, he was a confidant, someone I could consult with about business. We laughed, we fished, we shared personal feelings and emotions, and we talked almost every day. Dick called me about a week before he passed and I couldn't understand what he was saying, but I think he called to say goodbye."



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