A native son of Indiana, Max Robert Hauk continued his journey on to heaven after almost 101 years on this earth. He was a dedicated husband, father, grandpa, great grandpa, WWII veteran, educator and farmer. Max was serious about each of these life assignments and did not take these responsibilities lightly. He died just 16 days short of his 101st birthday. It was a good long run.
In 1920 Max was born to Fay and George Hauk. The 1920s were tumultuous times and the Hauk family was not exempt. Maxs dad, George died in 1928, leaving Fay a widow with an 8 year old son and a 13 year old daughter (Mary). Soon to follow was the Great Depression which wrought unthinkable clouds of tribulation upon their family. At this early age Max learned the pain of losing a loved one. These early life experiences made an indelible imprint on the man Max was to become. This little family worked with fierce determination, caring for their farm, working any job or labor they could find just to secure their survival. They simply refused to give up.
Better days were to come, and after graduating from Bluffton High School, Max left home to attend Purdue University. West Lafayette seemed worlds away from Bluffton at that time. There too, he continued to use his work ethic and paid his way through school by waiting on tables in the dining hall. He graduated from Purdue with a BS in Agriculture. He was a proud and loyal Boilermaker his entire life.
Soon after graduation came World War II. Max joined the Army as a 2nd lieutenant and served in the Army Transportation Corps for 4 years. Interestingly, most of his service was on a cargo ship assigned to the Navy that sailed the treacherous sea lanes near Manila in the Philippines. When not at sea, Max was a star player on the Army All Star basketball team. When he left active duty he had attained the rank of Captain. His time of service was a great source of pride and personal growth. The rapidly diminishing number of living WWII veterans has now been decreased by one.
It was his time in the service that led Max to New Orleans, where he met and married his lovely southern bride, known to all as "Queenie". Among the many things that Queenie taught this Indiana boy was that shrimp were NOT to be eaten with the shell on! She married him anyway. He brought her home to Bluffton to start their life together, a union lasting almost 74 years.
Upon returning to Indiana with his bride, Max began a 35 year career as an educator. He taught in Hagerstown, Liberty Center (eventually becoming principal), South Side High School in Ft Wayne, eventually coming full circle and returning to Bluffton as a school administrator and Assistant Superintendent of Bluffton-Harrison Metropolitan School District. His students have remembered him as a strict but fair teach who could actually make Chemistry understandable.
Max and Queenie eventually bought a farm near Bluffton. A dream come true for Max, he was able to use the expertise in agriculture that he had learned from his father and from his classes at Purdue. He would come home after a full day of teaching and go straight to work farming his land. It was a labor of love. He carefully stewarded his precious land with the tenderness a father would a child. He took great pleasure in watching the crops respond to his care.
Max and Queenie raised their two daughters on this farm, Melinda (Leighty) and Cynthia (Ehrlich). Both girls learned a strong work ethic and a powerful faith. In Maxs household there was a right and a wrong way to live, and youd better choose the right way. No exceptions. Six Mile Church was a cornerstone of life for their family. Max served his church as a deacon for many years.
As a Grandpa and Great Grandpa, Max leaves a treasure trove of memories and great stories for his grandchildren, Carrie and Mark (Liz) Ehrlich, and Laura and Kim Leighty. He has 3 great grandchildren, Luke Ehrlich, age 3, John Rodney Ehrlich, age 4 months, and Morgan Freeman, age 8. Maxs children and grandchildren remember well the stories about his life growing up during the depression and his experiences in the service. He not only shared factual historical information from his first-hand experience, but he was a gifted spinner of yarns and tall tales, filled with nefarious characters, carefully crafted for the audience on hand. There was much side-splitting laughter during the telling of these stories. He had a sharp wit, not always exactly politically correct. He often mused as to why there were so many more horses behinds than there were horses (often heard during an election year). When daughter Cindy was hard at work preparing annual Womens Retreats, Max was heard to wonder why women were always retreating, and why didnt they hold a Women"s Advance?!
Each of the grandchildren have their own special memories of their Grandpa:
As a young child, I used to spend a lot of time at Grandpa and Grandmas house in Bluffton. I always had a strong imagination and liked playing "business". I concocted a whole enterprise conglomerate around a lumber yard that had a restaurant, hardware store, clothes, you name it and, of all things, I named it something very creative: Lumber Lard! Note: this is not a typo.
Grandma and Grandpa let me take over their living room and set up my business which involved a big box of random office supplies which were so precious to me: old checkbooks and credit cards, a stamp pad, sales receipt tablet with carbon paper, top of the line stuff for an 8 year old. Grandpa and Grandma would be my customers and never tired of "coming into the store" and making purchases and returns, just so we could play out all of our characters.
They gave me their undivided attention during these visits (which I had exclusively for 5 and a half years til the other grandchildren came along)! I felt important to them and they engaged with me at my level and helped build a foundation of experiences that have made me feel loved and supported throughout my life. They were always huge cheerleaders for me and I miss them both.
Mark remembers that his Grandpa often cited James 1:19 as a guide for living: Speak little, listen much, and be slow to anger.
As a child visiting Grandpas Bluffton farm, I remember summer nights with Grandpa propped up in his porch swing listening to the faraway cars approaching the house and stories of the unbelievable Sammy Valentine, the Great Depression and the Army boat trips up and down the Mississippi. We found ourselves at the farm many a July 4th where we lit off spinning fireworks nailed to a tree. The wood shop, barn and Massey Ferguson Tractor rides, exploring hopper wagons, chasing ground hogs and playing in the willow trees are all very fond childhood summer memories that I have with Grandpa. In the winter, he sat in his favorite rocker next to the wood stove. I can still hear the distinct sound of the creaking door to the upstairs. A special highlight is when he would play the old upright and singing " Way down upon the Swanee River". We would get dressed up and ride in his van to Sonlight Church and drive past Poplar Grove. He would always ask me where to turn into the driveway by drifting off the road! I always think of Grandpa when I see toothpicks and gravel roads. As an adolescent and having Grandpa and Grandma move to Monticello, he was always there, patient and ready to listen. Now as an adult with my own family, I have come to understand Grandpa with tremendous appreciation for the man of faith who lived through the depression without a father, served in WWII, and raised a family in Wells County, Indiana. Nowadays, I think that is a Hero.
Laura and Kim Leighty:
Although not able to live near the Grandpa and Grandma, Laura and Kim have wonderful memories of visiting the farm in Indiana where Grandpa would take them for tractor rides and pull them in the trailer behind the tractor to the woods on the farm. They also remember the good times they had when Grandma and Grandpa visited them at their home in Fairhope, Alabama.
All of Maxs children, grandchildren, cousins, nieces, nephews and acquaintances of all sorts remember Max for his woodworking hobby. Everybody got a bench, a stool, or a birdhouse hand-crafted by Max. He was active in his woodworking shop well into his 90s when it was decided that his lack of eyesight made it best to discontinue the use of power tools.
Max loved his family fiercely. The things he cared about, he worried about. Having felt the pain of loss and such an early age, he was a worrier. He worried for and about each member of his family. He just could not help it; worry was his expression of love.
Now free of his worries, he will look over each of his loved ones in the company of those who went before him.his parents, George and Fay, his sister Mary, and his soulmate of 74 years, Queenie.
Service Schedule for Max Hauk
Thursday IN MONTICELLO
February 25, 2021
11am until 1pm Public Visitation at Springer-Voorhis-Draper Funeral Home.
1pm There will be a time of sharing stories and memories.
Military Honors will follow this time of sharing at the funeral home.
Saturday IN BLUFFTON
February 27, 2021
11am Max will be buried in the Six Mile Cemetery in Bluffton, Indiana and is open to friends and family.
11:30am until 12:30 The family will receive visitors at the Six Mile Church in Bluffton.
12:30pm Funeral Services Celebrating Maxs life at the Six Mile Church.
According to Six Mile Church leadership, attendees are required to:
Memorial contributions are recommended and encouraged to one of the following: