Carol Ann (Adams) May, 76, wife, mother, grandmother, friend, and Chief Executive Officer and Chair, Board of Directors of Wisdom Natural Brands® (makers of SweetLeaf® Sweeteners), returned to her Heavenly Father on Tuesday, August 10, 2021, surrounded by her family in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Carol was born on July 31, 1945, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She then moved with her family, at age 15, to Phoenix, Arizona. Two years later, Carol was awarded a scholarship to study acting in New York City. Her lifelong passion was the love of theater. However, fate stepped in when Carol met the love of her life, James May. The two married at the Mesa Arizona Temple on November 22, 1963, and her future with James began. The couple shared a lifetime of love. Together they had six children: David, James Jr., Steve, Michael, Shannon, and Erin. Although she had a full house, Carol was accomplished with her education. She graduated with a B.A. in Psychology, Magna Cum Laude from Arizona State University; M.A. in Education, Summa Cum Laude, Northern Arizona University; M.C. Professional Degree in Counseling Psychology, Magna Cum Laude, Arizona State University. In 1985, Carol joined her husband at Wisdom Natural Brands (now in Gilbert, Arizona) and together they built an international company doing business in over 50 countries.
Carol has been recognized with five international Stevie Awards for Women in Business in both 2014 and 2015, (including Lifetime Achievement, Entrepreneur of the Year, Executive of the Year in Business, Lifetime Achievement and Entrepreneur of the Year in Consumer Products). Carol was named one of the Top Women in Grocery in 2013 by Progressive Grocer Magazine, to the Arizona State University Sun Devil 100 during 2017 and 2019, and into the ASU President’s Club in 2019. Carol was inducted (with her husband) into the prestigious Natural Products Industry Hall of Legends in 2016. She was recognized as one of the 50 Most Influential Women in Arizona by AZ Business Magazine in 2015, and one of the Most Admired Leaders of Arizona in 2019.
As an ambassador for health and wellness, Carol enjoyed participating in the Dean’s Council of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, Arizona State University, and partnering with their Department of Psychology in developing prevention research pertaining to the intake of dietary sugars in order to reduce cardiovascular risk. Carol served on the American Heart Association’s Industry Nutrition Advisory Forum. She represented her company in the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce and served on the Board of Directors in the East Valley Partnership. In the past, she has served as a member of the Calorie Control Council and the Women’s Alliance, both international groups, and has been active in state and regional programs for children and families, as well as children’s hospitals.
Carol focused on improving the quality of life for others. She had a love of family history and was a member of the Arizona State Genealogy Association. Her commitment to family, company, and community were tireless. Over the years, Carol served on the ASU Psychology for Life Advisory Board; Banner Health, Pediatric Advisory Council; Regional Advisory Board on Metabolic Testing of Infants; Advisory Board to the AZ Department of Education on Chronically Ill Children; Member of the Advisory Board to AZ Department of Health (Children’s Division); Member of Maricopa County Medical Society committee on Pediatrics; Advisory Board for the Food and Beverage Industry; Member in the Organization of Women in International Trade; Member of the American Herbal Products Association; Member of the Institute of Food Technology and the National Specialty Food Association; and in various volunteer positions in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Carol was a loving wife, mother, and grandmother and a beloved friend to many, near and far. She will be remembered as a never-tiring, always-focused business leader, community advocate, and Wisdom Natural Brands® ambassador of health and well-being. Her company’s products give consumers the tools to make enjoyable, better-for-you dietary choices to meet the needs of busy lifestyles. Carol’s legacy will always be remembered as being committed to being a part of everyone’s journey to live a longer, healthier, and happier life.
She is survived by her sons, Steve and Michael (Christine), and daughters, Shannon (Jay) and Erin, and 7 grandchildren: Nathaniel, Emily, Andrew, Daniel, Jonathan, Chloe, and Julia.
A celebration of her life and legacy will be held on Monday, August 16, 2021. The morning will start with 9am Visitation, 9:45am Family Prayer, 10am Memorial Service, and 11am Luncheon for family and close friends at the LDS Church on 2835 E Des Moines St., Mesa, AZ 85213 with graveside service at Greenwood Memory Lawn Cemetery, Phoenix AZ.