While May was in Oregon proclaiming her mission, she entered into a peculiar, personal relationship with her stepbrother, Ward Sitton Blackburn, the son of Walter Blackburn and the stepson of her mother, Jennie. The two eventually married. It was a very odd pairing.
On the face of it, Ward was not an ideal mate for any woman, much less the supreme queen of the Divine Order of the Royal Arms of the Great Eleven. Born in 1901, he was a year younger than even Ruth, May's daughter, which in itself made his relationship with Ruth’s mother noteworthy. The fact that Ward was May’s stepbrother made it more so.
A former Portland bellboy, Ward groomed himself in the manner of an “Oriental mystic.” He greased back his black hair, trimmed his eyebrows into thin slits, and grew a Fu Manchu mustache that drooped below his jaws. An uncouth man, he would wear the same clothes for days on end – usually a brown, loose fitting, smelly suit.
Photos of Ward show a man who looks like the B-movie equivalent of Sidney Toler in his role as Charlie Chan. He was not an ambitious man, nor particularly gifted, intellectually. A Klamath Falls schoolmate, D.A. Clark, would say Ward was a “sub-normal child, with many queer traits not seen in other boys.” Ward was also rumored to be a child molester.
An unambitious child molester in a smelly suit who groomed himself to look like a Chinese mystic, lived in his parents’ home, joined a cult, and entered into a relationship with a woman almost twice his age, is typically not the kind of man whom parents would want their daughter to bring home.
Fortunately for May, Ward was already home.