Addison Cushman May of Warwick, New York and Stamford, passed away on June 5, in Stamford, surrounded by his family. He was 87.
Born Dec. 25, 1933 in New York City to Byron B. and Martha Fay May, he was a descendant of Robert Cushman, who, with a group from London, arranged the financing for the voyage of the Mayflower to Plymouth in 1620.
Growing up in Darien, Cush attended the New Canaan Country School and graduated in 1952 from the Middlesex School in Concord, Massachusetts.
Before entering Yale University in 1952 and for subsequent summers, he worked in the oil fields of Oklahoma and Texas. His tales of roughnecking on an oil rig platform or as a roustabout working on the El Rancho pipeline never failed to regale and amaze his family.
After graduating from Yale, he served as first lieutenant in the Army ROTC program followed by the Citibank Training Program in the petroleum department. He left Citibank in 1959 to spend a few months in London learning the business of export credit insurance and, on his return to New York, he and a colleague founded the Intercredit Agency, which became the largest producer of export credit insurance in the U.S.
While selling the services of Intercredit to various banks, he received 15 calls from Chase Manhattan Bank asking him to join the firm and oversee their Canadian operation.
At the same time, he was introduced to Jean Beattie of Warwick, New York; they married in September 1961. Eight years later, Chase asked him to go to Tokyo as senior vice president and general manager of its branches in Japan, Taiwan, Korea and Guam.
The Mays, now with two young daughters, moved to Tokyo in January 1969 for six-and-a-half remarkable years. He adapted well to Japan’s business society and was a highly respected member of the Japanese and American banking community there. He negotiated two joint ventures with the Mitsubishi Group (leasing and management consulting) and served on both boards as well as others in Tokyo.
He was invited to serve as president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan but ultimately withdrew his name due to other commitments.
Returning to the U.S. in 1975 to resume residence in New Canaan, where the Mays had lived since 1963, he accepted an offer two years later to join Connecticut Bank & Trust in Stamford and rose to become vice chairman.
It was a time of change in the banking world. When CBT was bought by the Bank of New England, Cush was intrigued by an offer in 1990 to return to the Far East to work in development banking at the Asian Development Bank as director of private sector services. Jean and Cush moved to Manila for yet another adventure in overseas living.
The job provided an opportunity to travel to many countries that were represented in the bank, including China, Mongolia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
With the conclusion of a three-year contract in 1993, Cush was asked to join Peregrine Capital Ltd., which at the time was the largest investment bank in Asia outside of Japan. Relocated to Hong Kong, the Mays enjoyed two years in that exciting city still under British control.
They returned from the Far East in 1995, deciding they liked city life, and they enjoyed a New York apartment for two decades, with weekends in Warwick, in the house that Jean’s grandfather had built in 1890.
They both took up gardening and involvement in the affairs of the town. Cush, in true business fashion, had new calling cards made that listed his new affiliation with May, Gardiner and Reade, the latter two being activities that he happily enjoyed.
Cush and Jean canvassed village neighborhoods in 2005 to promote the Community Preservation Act. They also joined the Warwick Conservancy, for which Cush served as president from 2002 to 2003.
They oversaw the acquisition of an historic piece of property for the village, known as the “Hallowed Ground,” helping to raise $175,000 in a townwide campaign to purchase it.
In pursuing genealogical research on the May and Beattie families, Jean and Cush discovered that they were both descended from two Leeds brothers of Leeds, England, who came to America around 1650. Cush’s ancestor settled in New London, while Jean’s settled in Stamford.
Her great-great grandmother, Lydia Leeds, was married to James Hoyt, who, in 1808, built the house on Warwick’s Main Street now occupied by Key Bank.
After Cush suffered a heart attack in 2017, the Mays moved to Edgehill, a continuing care facility in Stamford, where he peacefully passed away on June 5, surrounded by his family.
In addition to his wife of nearly 60 years, he is survived by his daughters: Julia (Marc) Boddewyn and Emily (Brett) Pierce; and grandchildren: Matthew and Emily Boddewyn and Nevé Skye Pierce.
A memorial service will be held at 12 noon, Saturday, June 26 at the Old School Baptist Meeting House, Warwick, New York, with a reception following at the Warwick Historical Society’s A. W. Buckbee Center, 2 Colonial Ave.
— an obituary from Lazear-Smith and Vander Platt Memorial Home