EDITOR’S NOTE: The Commercial offered its readers an opportunity to submit written tributes to Tommy May on his retirement:

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Commercial offered its readers an opportunity to submit written tributes to Tommy May on his retirement:

"On behalf of all the employees at Entergy Arkansas, we congratulate you on your retirement and on the tremendous career and wonderful life you have led.

The relationship between Simmons Bank and Entergy Arkansas/AP&L goes back decades and you have been instrumental over many of them.

There is no Arkansas business leader that is thought more of by his peers than Tommy May. You are a man of integrity and your word is your bond.

Thank you Tommy for your uncompromising leadership in everything you set out to do and most importantly your friendship."

Hugh McDonald

President and CEO

Entergy Arkansas Inc.

"It takes a wonderful person to step up to the plate to help a small domestic violence shelter accomplish its goal to grow large enough to house the increasing numbers of victims and their children in Pine Bluff.

Mr. Tommy May served as a chairperson for the CASA Women’s Shelter capital campaign, he dedicated a large amount of time to assist, help, mentor and volunteer. His dedicated hard work was certainly an inspiration to all involved. I will never forget the help he gave us, he was just as determined as we were to succeed, and thanks to his help we did! Pine Bluff now has one of the largest domestic violence shelters in Arkansas. Thank you Mr. May for everything you have done for us, you are truly appreciated!"

Karen Palmer

Executive Director

CASA Women’s Shelter

"With much respect, appreciation and admiration, I congratulate you on a much deserved retirement. Know that I appreciate your continuous support and words of encouragement. I’m grateful to call you my friend. Best wishes,"

Kaleybra Morehead

Vice President for Academic Affairs

Southeast Arkansas College

"Remembering and calling to mind almost 25 years of my following the vision and leadership of Tommy May gives rise to the thought ‘how did he do all that?’ One of Pine Bluff’s best days was when Tommy was persuaded to come here to live and work.

Not only has his life and leadership had great influence on business development, civic affairs, nonprofit organizations and spiritual life, Tommy also provided significant impact in another significant way. He greatly improved Pine Bluff’s outward appearance as the mural program was begun in the early 1990’s under his leadership as president of Downtown Development. The Donald W. Reynolds Community Center was approved for another location in the late 1990’s but Tommy had a greater vision which combined downtown redevelopment in addition to construction of the center. Thus, his vision and leadership accomplished much more than anyone else had considered might be possible.

We are better as a people, a city and a state because of Tommy May. Words frequently, like now, seem so inadequate. However, on occasion, like now, that’s all we’ve got. It has been a privilege to know and to work with him.

Again thanks!"

Jim Caldwell

Executive Director

United Way of Southeast Arkansas

"Tommy May has been a huge supporter of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff through the years, both vocally and philanthropically. He values the role the university plays in not only educating our future leaders, but also in uplifting our local community.

Athletically speaking, he has been one of our most diehard fans, spearheading efforts to build Golden Lion Stadium, the J. Tommy May Field House and the Torii Hunter Baseball, Softball and Little League Complex. He also has led efforts to reward our championship athletic programs and coaches.

When I arrived in Pine Bluff as the new chancellor at UAPB in July, I made it a point to quickly meet this icon of a man who has meant so much to so many people for decades. All of us at UAPB wish him a long and happy retirement."

Laurence B. Alexander


University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

"The name of J. Thomas May, in Pine Bluff and across the state of Arkansas, is a name synonymous with progress.

Through the years, Mr. May has been a torchbearer for bridging the gap between all sectors of our community. He has been an inspirational leader and a staunch advocate for helping to make Pine Bluff all that it can be.

With the athletics program at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, he has been instrumental in the modernization of our playing facilities and in our attempts to ensure that our teams are able to compete on a level playing field with our peer universities.

Mr. J. Thomas May is surely a living legend in this part of the country and we all wish him well in his retirement."

Lonza Hardy Jr.

Director of Athletics

University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff