Dr. Kenneth May, a longtime leader in the poultry industry, has died at the age of 84.

May, who earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in poultry science at Louisiana State University and a doctorate in food technology from Purdue University, served on the faculty at Louisiana State University, Purdue University, the University of Georgia and Mississippi State University, as well as serving as an adjunct professor of poultry science at North Carolina State University.

In 1970, he joined Holly Farms Poultry Industries in Wilkesboro, North Carolina as director of research and quality assurance. He eventually worked his way up to become the company’s CEO, a position he served in until his retirement in 1989.


May served as a director from the National Broiler Council from 1982 to 1989, as the president of the Poultry Science Association from 1978 to 1979, and president of the Poultry Historical Society from 1986 to 1987.

Credited with publishing more than 60 scientific papers in his career, May was the recipient of the Poultry Science Association Research Award, the Georgia Egg Commission Egg Award, the Institute of American Poultry Industry Service Award, the Merial Distinguished Poultry Industry Career Award, and the North Carolina Agribusiness Council Governor’s Award. He was inducted into the American Poultry Historical Society Hall of Fame in 1992.

Memorial services will be held on September 18 at the Reins-Sturdivant Funeral Home Chapel in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina.