Robert L. May, creator of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, inducted into New Rochelle Walk of Fame

Robert L. May, the creator of one of the most iconic Christmas poems, was honored on Sunday in New Rochelle.

News 12 Staff

Dec 4, 2022, 9:39 PM

Updated 536 days ago

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Robert L. May, the creator of one of the most iconic Christmas poems, was honored on Sunday in New Rochelle.
May, who grew up in the city, was inducted into its Walk of Fame. Ruby Dee Park was transformed into a winter wonderland for the ceremony honoring the writer who died in 1976.
"He wrote this poem about this underdog reindeer. He had been bullied. It was given to Montgomery Ward customers and met with much success,” said city historian Barbara Davis.
"I felt it was so important for me personally to be here," said his daughter, Martha May. Her father's induction into the city's Walk of Fame motivated her to travel from Chicago to share in the celebration.
Martha May said her father had happy and wonderful memories growing up in New Rochelle.
"It enabled him to enrich his life and to move on to Dartmouth and to do so many things for so many other people in his later years in life," she added
The celebration was a community event, complete with a holiday bouncy castle, face painting and lots of fun for everyone.
The Walk of Fame, and its many honorees, added to the visual appeal of the park.
"We started in Ruby Dee Park in 2011 and it contains people who had close ties to New Rochelle. They either grew up here or made New Rochelle home. Just wonderful individuals who had a profound effect both nationally and internationally," Davis said.
Robert L. May's poem about the plight of the underdog ultimately became the iconic Christmas song that is well known today hit No. 1 on the U.S. charts in 1949.
Robert L. and Virginia May pose in their home at Skokie, Ill., with a replica of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Dec. 1968. Bob May created the song about Santa's helper in 1949, and Johnny Marks penned the famous song. (AP Photo)


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