Spanning Three Centuries of Service

16 Shea Place ~ New Rochelle, NY 10805

P: (914) 632-2700

F: (914) 632-3759

Thomas W. May

Thomas William May, a longtime resident of New Rochelle, passed away on February 6, 2018. He was 64. Tommy was born on December 28, 1953 to Thomas May and Jeannette (Lopez) and raised on the lower east side of Manhattan, NY. He came to New Rochelle in 1971 and established the famous Westchester Academy of Self Defense Martial Arts school at 207 North Ave for over thirty-five years, teaching three generations of Karate students. He was the instructor of many champion black belt students. His is predeceased by his father Thomas May. His is survived by his son Michael and his estranged wife Janine who were both top national competitors. His mother Jeannette and sister Jean Marie Rizzo, his nephew Marc Rizzo and his wife Cheryl and niece Kerri. He also leaves behind his godchildren, Joey, Charlie, Dillon and Nina as well as numerous devoted black belts and students over the span of forty-five years operating his dojos.
Tommy May worked for over thirty years at the NYCHA a retired teamster of Local 237 NYC and worked twelve years for Monroe College in New Rochelle. He owned and operated the Westchester and Bronx Academies of Self Defense and along with his business partner Pat Denapoli ran the biggest Karate tournament on the east coast – The Battle of Westchester – Competitors came from all over the United States and many foreign countries to compete.
Tommy also owned Samurai Security – A company that provided personal security protection for home, travel, movie productions and nightclubs, the most famous being Vynal in NYC and the Palladium in New Rochelle. He was the personal bodyguard for many famous movie and music recording stars. Tommy was also a first responder during the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
In 2001 he helped save the life of a New Rochelle police lieutenant and received the citizen of the year award from New Rochelle Police Dept. In 2013 Tommy developed complications from a long battle with Diabetes and lost his leg rendering him handicapped but he never lost his samurai fighting sprit until the very end. He was a true living legend and his legacy will live on forever.
Visiting will be on Monday from 4-9pm at Lloyd Maxcy & Sons Beauchamp Chapel, Inc., 16 Shea Place, New Rochelle. A Mass is scheduled for Tuesday at 9:30am at Blessed Sacrament Church.
Interment will be Private.

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