Always In Motion
ARTHUR LESLIE MAX
August 6, 1939 - December 25, 2020
My dear father, Arthur Max, passed away on Christmas morning. I love him with all my heart.
When I was a kid, Dad seemed like a superhero: infallible--able to lift his two daughters with a single hand (literally). He was fearless, rugged, mighty and always in motion - whether it was running, sailing, flying a Cessna, or riding his motorcycle. When I close my eyes, I see him sailing the Gulfstar 44’ in the Virgin Islands, flying us kids across the waves, from island to island, as eagle spotted rays raced alongside our boat.
At times, we thought he had magic powers. As he drove down the avenues in Manhattan, he convinced us kids that he had a remarkable ability to turn traffic lights from red to green. (Timers? Nah, it was my Dad’s powerful mind).
Although he rarely spoke about it, he was very proud of his service as a Marine, volunteering for two tours in Vietnam. He was part of the 9th Marine Brigade, arriving on the beaches of Da Nang in 1965. Dad wrote a series of poignant letters to his mother Fritzi during this time. Considering how early in the conflict, his letters are filled with remarkable observations and a chilling awareness of the perils and futility of the war. Every year on November 10th, the anniversary of the Marine Corp, you could always see the scarlet Marine flag billowing outside of his home.
At Princeton, he is remembered for his impish grin and playing practical jokes with his Tiger Inn buddies. A starter on the undefeated Freshman football team, Dad was a tremendous athlete. He was fearless and could often be seen breaking the rules by riding his Triumph motorcycle around campus. In the years that followed, he enjoyed meeting up with his friends, a group called “The Legends,” at football games and reunions.
After Princeton, and during his studies at NYU Law, he was a regular at Chumley’s Pub in Greenwich Village, carving his initials into the former speakeasy’s old wooden tables.
He was an exceptional athlete from the beginning. As co-captain of Varsity football for Lawrence High School in Long Island, he was known as “Terror on the Gridiron.” He played rugby, tennis, and racquetball and in later years, he was a stalwart fixture in Mountain Lakes, either jogging or riding his bike for miles and miles along the tree-lined Boulevard.
He was “Brooklyn Born,” grew up in Long Island, lived in Manhattan, and truly loved the decades he spent in the beautiful country town of Mountain Lakes. He was the neighbor you always wanted to have - the one who would shovel the snow from your driveway or mow your lawn, just because he could.
Always devoted to his community, he served on several boards - the preservation of the Mountain Lakes Library being very dear to his heart.
An avid reader of history, a photographer, and devotee of all the arts - he had an open mind and appreciated everything from the classics all the way to the avant garde. He had a particular affinity for black & white photography. Our walls were adorned with his latest interest, from Berenice Abbott to Salgado. In the last few years, whenever he was in town, we so enjoyed roaming the halls together of the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena.
And while this all may sound eclectic and sophisticated, which he was, he was always down to earth, industrious and a “DIYer” before it was an acronym. He was a firm believer that duct tape could fix anything (even using it to mend our “boo boos” as kids) and he could be seen, all too recently, climbing up ladders and shuffling across the roof to clear the leaves.
Though an epicure of great cuisine, he also loved tunafish sandwiches, a good bagel, and peanut butter straight from the jar. Food was about more than the meal, it was often about the company he kept. On most mornings he could be found sitting at Paul’s Diner with the New York Times and his friend John Moore. And he loved his dear friend Judy Bardach’s home-cooked meals, as well as her enduring friendship.
Dad was big-hearted and generous, unpretentious yet noble, forthright and trustworthy--an authentic and chivalrous man of his word. Artie was a loyal friend, a devoted husband to Carol, a loving son to his mother Fritzi, a supportive and caring father, and an adoring grandfather.
Arthur Leslie Max was Semper fidelis, always faithful. He will be greatly missed.