May Kanfer

May Kanfer

Former Hastings resident May Kanfer passed away at Kendal-on-Hudson in Sleepy Hollow on Monday, July 26.

May was born Dorothy May Markey in April of 1935 in New York City. Her parents, economist John Markey and activist-author Dorothy Page Markey, taught her the value of education and the importance of equality and civil rights. 

May attended high school in Yonkers, and majored in art at New York University, where she met journalism student Stefan Kanfer. They were married in 1956 and moved to New York’s bohemian East Village. After a year vagabonding in Europe, May and Steve returned to New York and settled in the Morningside Heights section of Manhattan. 

While raising two children, May furthered her education, earning a master’s degree in education from Teachers College of Columbia University. In 1971, the Kanfer family moved to Hastings. May became a teacher at the Early Childhood Education Center at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, where she continued to work for the next three decades and became one of the center’s directors. After retirement, May and Steve continued to live at their home in Hastings while spending summers in Cape Cod with their children and grandchildren. 

In 2014, May and Steve relocated to Kendal-on-Hudson, where May rekindled her interest in art and became a regular at trivia nights, film screenings, concerts, and gatherings. 

May was predeceased by her husband and by brother John Markey. She is survived by her daughter, Lilian Castle, and son, Ethan Kanfer; son-in-law Andrew Castle; daughter-in-law Daniela Kanfer; granddaughter Lea Castle Novak and her husband, Tim Novak; and granddaughter Alyssa Castle and her partner, Tucker Hill.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to the May’s favorite charities, the Children’s Defense Fund ( and Heifer International ( 

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