Clifton Carl “Jigger” May was born in Burlington, NC on August 5, 1935, the son of Clifton Vastine “Jack” May (1911-1993) and Dorothy Lucille “Lucy” Coleman May (1914-2004). He married his high school sweetheart, Margariette Farrell in 1952. Loving son, husband, father, grandfather and friend, he lived most of his life in Efland, North Carolina in Orange County. He succumbed to complications from a fall on April 26, 2020 and died peacefully at Duke University Medical Center on April 28, 2020.
He attended Hillsborough High School, and in 1952 he started a life-long career as a self-made mechanical engineer. He became a master metal machinist in his early years while working for Western Electric on classified projects during the cold war. He designed and built custom state-of-the art stereo systems in the 50’s for clients along the east coast from North Carolina to New York City. He owned and operated an automotive repair business for many years, specializing in automotive brands such as Porsche, Audi and Volkswagen. After selling his business, he transitioned to Service Manager for a Porsche/Audi dealership. In the 1980s he started and co-owned a successful mechanical contracting firm. Eventually he sold his share of the business to focus on his life-long passion of building high performance engines and carburetors. He leveraged this passion and partnered with two other racing enthusiasts to start PMP racing, a professional racing team that competed in races scattered all over the lower 48.
He was active in his community as a member of the Efland Ruritan for many years. He had many diverse hobbies. He built dune buggies, model airplanes, slot cars and was an avid CB radio enthusiast. After retiring from professional racing, he continued building racing engines for round track and drag racing for amateurs and professionals. His final project before his health began to decline was resurrecting a 1963 Ford Falcon convertible. Over five years he completely restored the chassis and body, modified the frame and drivetrain. He then added an automatic transmission and a custom high-performance 302 Ford engine. In the waning years of good health, he delighted in showing this car at cruise-ins hosted all over the state by the car club he loved, The Timeless Cruizers in Efland.
He is survived by his sister Shelby Jean Lloyd (James); four children Carol Deniese Chaney (Edward L.) of Efland, Clifton Carl May, Jr. (Janice) of Holly Springs, Frances Elizabeth Carroll (William “Bo”) of Mebane and Donna May Stelzenmuller (Alan) of Durham; 4 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren.
He is preceded in death by his wife Margariette Farrell May (1934-2017) and his sister Dorothy Marie Efland (1933-2019).
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced restrictions on group gatherings for now. The immediate family will hold an inurnment service at the Alamance Memorial Park Mausoleum on Saturday, May 9, 2020 at 11:00 and will plan a celebration of his life to be held later when it is safe to do so.
Dad’s Brookdale, Chapel Hill family loved and cared for him for almost 2 years as did the Right at Home and Heartland Hospice teams. We are so grateful for their support of dad and our entire family. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Heartland Hospice Memorial Fund in dad’s name. McClure Funeral Service in Mebane is assisting the family. Online condolences may be made at www.mcclurefuneralservice.net
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