May Gold Coons
December 15, 1926 – September 24, 2021
May Gold Coons died peacefully in Atlantic Beach, FL on Sep. 24, 2021, age 94. Born May Lambdin Sheridan in Macon, GA, in 1926 amid a large Irish clan, May moved with her family to newly established Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, when she was 13. At Fletcher High, she learned to twirl a baton despite dexterity issues from rheumatic fever. Because handwriting was difficult, she learned to type, which would serve her well. May attended Journalism school at the University of Georgia but left when famed editor Ralph McGill offered her a job on the society page of the Atlanta Constitution. There she worked alongside Margaret Mitchell, author of Gone With the Wind.
In 1948 May married her first husband, Dan Gold, and they moved to Winter Park, Florida. There, May continued to write a weekly column for the Orlando Sentinel. Dan was called back into the Navy for the Korean War, and May moved with her two young children to Norfolk, VA. After the war, they lived in Washington, DC, and Summit, NJ. In DC, she co-wrote a local live television talk show produced by the Junior League. In Summit, May started the Summit Speech School to teach deaf children to speak and lip-read so they could attend regular classrooms. The school has grown and flourishes today.
In 1984, at age 57, Dan Gold died abruptly of a heart attack. May moved back to Macon and then to Ponte Vedra. There she married her second husband, Joseph Burkholder Smith. Joe’s lectures on history and on his previous life in the CIA earned them free passage on cruises around the world until his untimely death after 10 years of marriage.
May originally met Captain Bill Coons in Atlanta in the 1940s before finding each other again in Atlantic Beach over 50 years later. They became sweethearts, married, and had 13 happy years together at the Fleet Landing retirement community until his death in 2016. Throughout her life, May was also a wonderful cook and delightful storyteller and had many lifelong friends. She also turned her own struggles to good by leading workshops on grief.
May was predeceased by her three husbands, her brother Dan Sheridan, and her son Daniel “Skip” Gold. She is survived by son Andy Gold of Flemington, NJ, and daughter Liz Gold (Debbie Denison) of Chimayó, NM; grandchildren Lara May Gold (Craig McGuinness) of Falls Church, VA; Dave Gold (Rachel) of Southampton, PA; Zephyr Gold of Portland, OR; and Taif Gold of Klamath Falls, OR; and great-grandchildren Mallory May, Jolene, and Christian Gold of Southampton, PA; as well as many beloved nieces, nephews, and cousins.
The family would like to say special thanks to the dedicated and heroic staff of Fleet Landing and to May’s amazing caregivers who brought endless cheer to her last years, especially Veckie Deterville, Danielle Williams, Toni Tooks, and Tami Gravem.
A memorial Mass will be held on Friday, Oct. 22,2021 10 am at St. John’s the Baptist Catholic Church 2400 Mayport Road, Atlantic Beach FL,32266 May will be interred later in Barnesville, GA.
Donations in her name may be sent to the Summit Speech School, 705 Central Ave., New Providence, NJ 07974 or online at summitspeech.org.
Arrangement are under the care and direction of HARDAGE-GIDDENS FUNERAL HOME In Jacksonville Beach FL.
Mass of Christian Burial
St. John the Baptist Catholic Church