Atherton family honors Richard May


Family and friends of slain East Palo Alto police officer Rich May, including his stepfather Frank Merrill of Atherton, plan to build the first regulation playing field in East Palo Alto through the Rich May Foundation, Merrill announced Dec. 22 in a news release.

In addition to his stepfather, Rich May's mother and sisters also live in Atherton.

On Nov. 25, the jury in the Richard May murder trial found the defendant, Alberto Alvarez, guilty of first degree murder, and on Dec. 22, the jury recommended the death sentence for the 2006 killing.

A social psychologist testified during the trial that a factor contributing to this tragedy was that the defendant lived in a community that lacked athletic opportunities.

"The family hopes that this field will be the beginning of changing that," Merrill said.

The playing field, serving youth in East Palo Alto and Belle Haven, will be built on about two acres of land at 1425 Bay Road that was donated by the Archdiocese of San Francisco and the Ravenswood City School District, he said.

The plan is for a synthetic turf field, plus a picnic area, bathrooms, storage, an office and parking areas, he said. The field will be lighted for night use and will be suitable for soccer, rugby, football, running, and field hockey.

Over the past three years, the foundation has started a rugby program for East Palo Alto youth, established a scholarship program to fund soccer and rugby camps, and funded field trips and mentoring programs in the community, Merrill said.

"Rich was very popular and well liked by the East Palo Alto community, where his focus was helping and becoming involved with the troubled youth," Merrill stated in the news release. "Rich once said: 'Find one young person who needs help. Help that person become a good and responsible adult. And, do it with a smile.'"

To learn more about the foundation or to make a donation go to

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Like this comment
Posted by Kwame
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Dec 24, 2009 at 5:47 pm

Wow, I continue to be impressed by Officer May and his family. Their continued commitment to East Palo Alto shows the true character of the man.

Like this comment
Posted by Mr Fischer
a resident of Menlo Park
on Dec 25, 2009 at 4:54 pm

I am very "IMPRESSED", this sincere jester by May's stepfather. This solution is right on the money,..a very much needed project. Although this shall require a non-profit organization that is not bias or greedy,...our existing groups are not ready to be real to the child,but politically incorrect.

Like this comment
Posted by Mr. Ironic
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 28, 2009 at 10:48 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff].

Like this comment
Posted by greg
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Dec 28, 2009 at 1:11 pm

May doesnt care about EPA they're just doing all of this so people feel bad that he was killed. Now if they were realy good people they wouldnt be asking for the death penalty. Life with out parole is enough for the defendent. If there so good why do they say Alvarez chose to kill May so now we will chose to kill him. If you ask me thats not being good because they are doing just what Alvarez did KILLING! [Portion removed.]

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