Max Hungerford
Max Hungerford

Max Lee Hungerford, 89, Rochester, was surrounded by his loving family when he passed away at 7:17 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017, at the Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast, Miramar Beach, Fla.

On Dec. 27, 1927, Max was born in Clinton. He was a treasured son of Leo and Lena Houchin Hungerford. Growing up, he shared his childhood with two sisters, Louise and Lela, and a brother, Harold. During his high school years, Max enjoyed a stellar basketball career playing forward for the Clinton Wildcats boys basketball team. He established and held many scoring records during his play in the Wabash Valley tournaments. The CHS boys basketball team often dominated the sectional action, winning three tournaments while Max was in high school. During his senior year, he served as class president and graduated with great pride from Clinton High School in 1946.

Following high school, patriotism beckoned, and Max answered the call, serving in the U.S. Army. After 15 months of service, Max was honorably discharged as a TEC 4 in November 1947. He was decorated with the World War II Victory Medal and the Army of Occupation Medal in Japan.

Returning from the service, Max headed to Indiana State University under the GI bill to pursue his dream of becoming a teacher. While at ISU, he exercised his athletic prowess, playing on the Sycamores men's basketball team. In 1952, he graduated from ISU with a degree in secondary education specializing in the areas of industrial education and physical education. Max first embarked on his teaching career in McLean, Ill., where he also was the basketball and baseball coach.

On Dec. 23, 1950, in the United Methodist Church of Clinton, Max married his college sweetheart, Joan Murphy. They shared 63 ½ years of life's adventures. From their union came a beautiful daughter, Karen. The family tree continued to grow with the added blessings of two grandsons and five great-grandchildren.

In 1956, Max and Joan moved to the Rochester community. They both taught at Rochester High School until their retirement. Max was one of the last of his generation who always wore a sport coat and tie to work each day and attended a majority of the Rochester Zebras extracurricular events.

Joan and Max enjoyed traveling. Many cherished memories were made during spring break and following their retirement wintering at Sarasota's Siesta Key and Destin in Florida where they annually met college classmates and colleagues.

Remembered by family and close friends as a soft-spoken, self-made man with a witty sense of humor, Max was a lifetime tennis player. He also was accomplished at the game of pickleball. Max built his own home and enjoyed woodworking in his basement shop. Neighbors remember him as always being there to help them with projects no matter how large or small. Following his move to Rochester in his early years, Max pitched a softball no-hitter, fanning 21 batters in a row.

Left to cherish the memory of Max are a daughter, Karen Sakel and husband Tully, Huntingburg; two grandsons, Kirk Sakel and wife Jennifer, Newburgh, and Reid Sakel and wife Bianca, Huntingburg; five great-grandchildren, Meredith, Conner, Olivia, Kate, and Maxwell; and many nieces and nephews.

Max was preceded in death by his parents; beloved wife, Joan, on Sept. 14, 2014; two sisters, Louise and Lela; a brother, Harold; and Peppy, his devoted Boston terrier.

A celebration of the life of Mr. Max L. Hungerford will be at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017, at the Good Family Funeral Home, 1200 W. 18th St., Rochester. Friends may visit with the family from 4-6 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 10, 2017, and one hour prior to the service Saturday at the funeral home. Military rites will be conducted by the Fulton County Veterans Honor Guard and the U.S. Army Honor Guard. Interment will be in the Rochester IOOF Cemetery.

Memorials may be made to Grace United Methodist Church, 201 W. 7th St., Rochester, IN 46975. Electronic expressions of sympathy may be made to his family at www.goodfamilyfh.com.