South Calgary Funeral Centre and Crematorium

12700 Macleod Trail South, Calgary, AB


Henry Philip May

November 5, 1933October 13, 2019

Philip May passed away on Sunday, October 13, at AgeCare Glenmore, Calgary, at the age of 85 years. He will be lovingly remembered by his wife of sixty years, Eleanor Ritcey May, his son, Peter, daughter Catherine, and son-in-law Matthew Andrews; also by his grandchildren, Cole Lord May and Joseph Andrews; as well as his siblings, Dorothy Griffiths, Arthur, David and Colin May and their families.

Philip was born in Darlington, England, and received his formal musical training at the Royal College of Music in London. He had an active career in concert and opera in England, including a period of time with Benjamin Britten’s English Opera Group, before settling in Canada in 1966, where he joined the Faculty of Music at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, teaching voice and acting as Director of Dalhousie Opera. In 1976 he moved to a similar position at the University of Regina, in Saskatchewan.

In addition to his university responsibilities he maintained an active performing career in opera, concert, and oratorio, in many parts of Canada and on CBC Radio. For several years he was a member of the teaching faculty at the Banff School of Fine Arts. He and Eleanor retired from the University of Regina in 1996 to Calgary, Alberta, where until recently they maintained a teaching studio.

Philip will be remembered as one of Canada’s leading teachers of classical singing and voice production. His main interests were vocal mechanics and the science of the vocal instrument. He was passionate about and supportive of the role of the arts in our society. In his role as a teacher and director, he supported and encouraged countless performers, both at the professional and community levels. Philip was a man, who, from relatively humble beginnings and through sheer determination and hard work, followed his talent and heart to excel at the craft of music, then sharing his vast accumulated knowledge with subsequent generations.

Outside of his professional career, he became, in his retirement, a wonderful painter, meticulously and ardently representing the landscapes of his adopted home in western Canada and his birthplace in northeast England.

The family will hold a private celebration of life in the coming months.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to a charity or the arts organization of your choice.


No services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Henry Philip May

have a memory or condolence to add?

Gaetan Hammond

October 21, 2019

Philip taught me so much about the care and maintenance of my voice, and I carry those lessons with me every day. He was a great mentor to me, and I will always think on my brief years of lessons with him fondly.

Dianne Burrows

October 21, 2019

I have fond memories of the many operas and shows and various concerts I was involved with Philip and you Eleanor. Except that one Christmas show with the Songmakers. Do you remember?
I asked you after listening to some of the music we were to perform and I had to ask "....but where is the tune ?" You both quickly assured me that I would learn to love it. You were so good to me in giving me opportunities to sing with you. I learned so much. Thank you. Deepest sympathy to you Eleanor and your family from Brian and I.

Carmen Tellier

October 19, 2019

My sincere condolences are offered to Eleanor and the family on the loss of their beloved Philip.

Philip will be fondly remembered as a fine gentleman, a very good musician and an excellent teacher of voice,

Carmen Tellier