Max Messman

Max Messman

TACOMA, Wash. – A memorial service in celebration of the life of Max Gordon Messman and in witness to the resurrection will be held at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012, in Tacoma, Wash., in the Trinity Presbyterian Church sanctuary, with a potluck reception to follow in the fellowship hall.

A celebration of life gathering will take place in Champaign in early June.

Max was born Oct. 8, 1950, in Fairborn, Ohio, to Howard and Marjorie Messman. He was the second of three sons, all of whom possessed a deep love of people, academics and nature.

He passed away on Monday, Nov. 5, 2012.

Max possessed a persona of the gap-toothed, Opie-type guy-next-door - someone that everyone knows, trusts and enjoys being around. His ever-present willingness to help you with a little project, entice you to try something new, and his "I'm with you, buddy" demeanor made him a favorite brother, friend, co-worker, in-law, mentor and pal - attributes rarely found in a single person.

Max loved nature and demonstrated excellence in activities such as cross-country and downhill skiing, running marathons, camping, hiking, boating, biking - and, of course, his mother's favorite sport, golf. Max's mother instilled not just a love for the game of golf, but even more, an appreciation and respect for the game's principal trait of always displaying fairness and honesty with everyone.

Max was an Eagle Scout and senior class president of University High School in Urbana. Max graduated from DePauw University, majoring in political science, and earned a juris doctorate degree from Valparaiso University. Max also attended seminary at Vanderbilt University.

He embarked upon a series of legal and public service careers: volunteer in Service to America (VISTA), voter registration field work, public defender, Washington State Emergency Management Program coordinator, Presbytery National Disaster Preparedness Committee and neighborhood development and cleanup.

Until 1993, Marjorie Messman was undoubtedly the main lady in Max's life. But that year proved to be the year that Max was blessed with a second lady love in his life, his future wife, Edwina Dorsey, whom he affectionately called "Bud." Max and Edwina met through Trinity Presbyterian Church's "Support Our Troops" program while she was serving as a flight nurse for the U.S. Air Force in Operation Desert Storm.

Max was preceded in death by his parents, Howard and Marjorie Messman.

He is survived by his beloved wife, Edwina, who lovingly cared for him until he took his very last breath; his older brother, Stewart (Carla) of Tacoma, Wash.; his younger brother, John of Champaign; his mother-in-law, Albertha Royal Dorsey of Seattle, Wash.; sisters-in-law (Vera, Ethelda, Olivia and LaVonne); brothers-in-law (Edwin, Gerald, Marshall and Allen); nieces and nephews (Lavonne, Yvonne, Taya, Tionne, Solomon, Aaron, Morgan and Caitlin); and one very special grandniece, Maia - who still refers to him as "Auntie Max"; and a host of friends, co-workers and spiritual brothers and sisters in Christ.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the MD Anderson Melanoma Research Project ( that provided superb medical care throughout Max's course of treatment.

Heath and Vaughn Funeral Home, 201 N. Elm St., Champaign, is assisting with local arrangements.

Condolences to the family may be offered at

bozjunior wrote on November 11, 2012 at 5:11 pm

My thoughts and prayers are with you during this time of sorrow.
Kathy Bozdech