May Cresswell Irwin

pic50May Rowan Cresswell Irwin, aged 80, died peacefully on November 7th, 2016 at home in her apartment at Morningside of Riverchase, Hoover, Alabama, from bone cancer. May was born June 26, 1936, in Washington, DC, the daughter of Leonard Baker Cresswell and Emilia Field Belknap Cresswell.  God, family and friends were May’s passion and delight. She grew up with her two sisters, Mia and Julia, travelling around the country as dependents of a highly decorated Marine Corps officer. She inherited her mother’s love of hosting and entertaining frequently.  After graduating from Norfolk Catholic High School, May attended Vassar College for two years, followed by a year studying abroad in France at the University of Paris. In 1957, she took a break from college and married the love of her life, Gerald Lee (Jerry) Irwin, a young Air Force officer.  Together they travelled the world for Jerry’s Air Force career.  The first seven years of marriage produced 4 children:  Leonard Cresswell, Elizabeth Douglass (Betsy), Margaret Ellen (Margy), and Emilia Field (Mimi).  Her studies continued intermittently until May proudly graduated University of Maryland in 1968. May and Jerry moved to Montgomery, Alabama where the youngest son, Jeptha Kilgore (Jep) was born. In addition to raising her own children, she provided motherly support for many of her children’s friends and was a mentor for many younger women she met along her journeys of faith and enlightenment. May had a passion for any sort of needlework, sewing, or quilting.  After 23 years in the military, May and Jerry retired to London, Kentucky in 1980 where they lived for nearly 30 years.  May was a member of Living Hope Church, where she sang as part of the praise team.  She also worked at the Brookhaven Christian Bookstore where she was able to share the word of God and her years of experience with all comers. In 2009, May and Jerry moved to Calera, Alabama to be closer to several children and grandchildren.  She quickly became well-loved within her community.  She found her new spiritual home with the Anglican Church of the Holy Comforter. In June 2016, May made her final move to the Morningside of Riverchase retirement community where she spent her final months with her husband. May is survived by her husband Jerry; three of her children (Betsy, Mimi and Jep), four grandsons, two granddaughters, her sister Julia and 10 nieces and nephews. There will be a 10 AM church service on Saturday, November 12th 2016 at the Anglican Church of the Holy Comforter, 135 Ashford Circle, Montevallo, Alabama.  May wished that memorial donations be considered for Holy Comforter sent in her name, in lieu of flowers. A memorial service will be announced at a later time.


  1. Tim Enders on November 9, 2016 at 4:02 pm


    Reading this about your mom is inspirational. She was committed to helping people, had a full life and blessed so many.