May 27, 1963 – November 27, 2017
A beautiful Thai butterfly named “May,” left us on November 27th this year, and she will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved her. Throughout her short life, May Weller had many roles to play. She was wife, mother, sister, Buddhist, businesswoman, community contributor, world traveler, nature-lover and gardener and so much more. Although May’s life was cut short by cancer at age 54, she packed more living into those meager years than most of us would ever attempt. May’s husband, Roger, and their friends and family describe her as a nurturing woman – one who cared for others effusively and unselfishly. May was foremost a spiritual woman, deeply connected with nature, inspired by Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism.
A native of Thailand, May was born in Bangkok in May of 1963, one of seven siblings. Although her family was poor in material possessions, she was blessed with natural skills and abilities and a personality that glowed with energy and personal magnetism. May was destined to rise above any difficulties and make an extraordinary difference in the world. To know May was to be captivated by her enthusiasm and infectious smile.
From age thirteen through college, May worked in a school-sponsored food kiosk managed by her parents. She continued her learning and involvement in the food industry with Thai Airway International. Very early in her life, May’s ambition exceeded the opportunity offered in her native Thailand, so she became enamored of the American dream. The tremendous opportunity this country represented gave her the courage to come to the United States alone, with determined confidence.
Upon her arrival in 2002, May traveled the United States from the mid-West to the East, from Kentucky to Georgia, to Washington DC, Niagara Falls, NY, Atlantic City, NJ, Indianapolis, Indiana, and she made her home in Ashville, North Carolina. There she met Roger at a chance meeting at a Thai restaurant where she worked. This encounter would usher in a time of fulfillment of all of her dreams, and allow her to apply her skills and talents for the benefit of her family and community. May became a U.S. citizen in 2009.
May’s career in retail began on her journey with Roger, who owned The CW Moose store in Black Mountain, NC. She and Roger made a great team and in a short time, they fell in love and were married. As co-owner, May took on more and more responsibility at the store: selling, ordering, organizing, setting up displays, and traveling worldwide to trade shows as a buyer. She returned from these trips to stock the shelves with unique jewelry and other exotic, handcrafted specialty items like quilts and handbags. More recently, the couple owned and operated the New River Trading Company.
In their marriage and with their move to Florida, Roger and May made the most of their years together by traveling to Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Nova Scotia and Bar Harbor, Maine, visiting much of the United States that May missed on her travels when she first arrived here. May also made several trips back to her beloved Thailand, where her son and daughter still live. Here in Sarasota County, May became intimately involved with her Buddhist Temple, the Sarasota Forest Monastery, working tirelessly to help build their following and manage paperwork and the process to attain a tax exempt status. At home, May focused much of her boundless energy on her garden, fulfilling her calling and connection to nature. Roger welcomes neighbors to drive by his home at 462 Rubens Drive East to watch May’s garden grow!
In addition to working a part-time job at Costco, May was a Thai Chef, quilter, and photographer. She participated in a golf league and played tennis. And with all of this, May still found time to design extraordinary gardens, as she coaxed from the earth an amazing confluence of flowers, tropical specimens, Thai herbs and edible plants of all varieties and species.
We created a slideshow of May’s garden on YouTube, so please take a look to enjoy May’s creative spirit through these photos and video. Here’s the link: https://youtu.be/WtNYalVTpD0
Roger’s grief over the loss of May is bearable only with his humble acceptance of God’s will and his feeling of being blessed with May’s gifts. Her vibrant gardens grow heartily and surround his home in peace, recalling May’s beauty and love, which will remain in Roger’s heart and in the minds and hearts of our community forever.
Donations in May’s honor may be made to the Sarasota Forest Monastery, 2828 S. McCall Road, PMB 10, Englewood, Florida 34224.