Swan’s Island: Meet Gwen May 



Dexter Lee informs us that the Grand Lodge of Maine Odd Fellows is offering scholarships for students attending vocational/technical schools in Maine. If interested, you may contact him for application forms. 

Our first “Getting to Know Your Neighbor” e-interview is with Gwen May, known to all Islanders as our town clerk, tax collector and registrar of voters.  There’s a lot more to Gwen besides always taking our money! 

Gwen Jane Staples May has strong roots on Swan’s Island: daughter of Milton (Bud) and Melita; mother to SonjaBetsy and Jill; sister to Clint and Lotti Belle; grandmother of JacobTyler and Dori; descendant (great-great granddaughter) of “King” David Smith, the first “white” settler on the island as distinguished from the American Indian population.  

Gwen’s first “official” job was working as a switchboard operator at our local phone company. Along with many other Swan’s Islanders, she went to the Higgins Classical Institute in Charleston. She later attended the Golden School of Beauty Culture in Portland after high school.  

Gwen’s early love interest was for the dashing Normie Burns; the two were “boyfriend/girlfriend” at the tender age of 12 when he gave her a “diamond” ring from a bubble gum machine. She lived in Germany and Matinicus with her first husband, and had some harrowing adventures during this time – “I was in a small plane once when the engine quit, and six months later the pilot passed out while we were flying in to Owl’s Head Airport from Matinicus.” Gwen eventually returned to Swan’s Island and married Roger May, someone she describes as having been “the love of my life and the best husband to me a woman could ask for.” 

Gwen loves genealogy, gathering the history of the island—we all know what an asset she is to the Historical Society–and hearing about the lives of others. The most important thing in her life is her family, both past and present members. According to her, one of her greatest accomplishments was “to keep us [family] together, fed and clothed on next to nothing, with no child support, and to balance life as a single parent and not fall into a bad place.” Apropos to family as the center of her life, when asked about her favorite places on Swan’s Island, she replied that home and a family camp on the shore were her special places. 

Gwen’s level-headedness obviously comes from her belief and practice “that it does no good to get mad and yell at someone when they are yelling at me. I smile and try my best to take the high road and usually they calm down.” She also finds it important to be a good person and “do the best that I can in whatever I am doing.” This dirty dancing, rock ‘n’ roll, and brownie loving genealogist wants to see fairness, lack of greed and kindness in the world. So lovely that this is exactly what she personifies. 

Happy birthday to Hilary Tamulonis, Jacques CesbronTerie Laws, Bonnie L. Turner, Judy Green, Jim Stone and Jean RanquistAnniversary blessings to Herb and Carol Haller. 

If you have news to share, please email or call me by Sunday noon if you need it to be included in the following edition. E-mail me at [email protected] or call me at (207) 526-4488. 

Kimberly Haller

Kimberly Haller

If you have news to share, email or call me by Sunday noon if you need it to be included in the following edition. Email me at [email protected]or call me at 526-4488.

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