Max L Lee thought first of those he loved and was in return cherished by his family and friends.
He died peacefully in his sleep at age 94 on Dec. 19, 2022, at his home in Mobile and has been reunited in heaven with his wife, Mary Catherine "Kitty" Lee.
Max Lee was born on Dec. 2, 1928, in Waynesboro, Mississippi. He was one of seven children born to James Rufus Lee and Mary Brunson Lee. As a teenager, he helped his mother shoulder the work of running a family farm after his father passed away.
On the farm, Max learned the value of hard work, a characteristic that stayed with him for life. For more than four decades, he drove a bus for Continental Trailways, working for other professional bus chartering services after his retirement.
Max was proud to ensure the safety and comfort of the passengers entrusted to his care. He received multiple awards for safe driving.
He saved much of his boundless energy for his two daughters, Carrie Anita and Janice Ann Lee.
He built them a one-room log cabin in their backyard in Meridian, Mississippi, took them swimming in the ocean and Yellow Creek near his mother's farm, and explored the woods with them. He was a gifted storyteller who would build a campfire in the woods on moonlit nights and tell them stories from his childhood.
His succession of dogs accompanied him to the barber shop, bank, and on other errands.
Max and Mary met in mid-life, by chance, at a square dance in Mobile. They were devoted to one another. He always felt God had brought them together.
When they married, he moved from Jackson, Mississippi, to Mobile, where they established a loving home together.
Throughout his adult life, Max planted a bountiful garden every season. He loved to cook 10-course meals, serving up butter beans and other garden vegetables with fresh cornbread, while Mary prepared the pot roast or other main dish.
He mowed not only his yard but also those of neighbors and friends who needed the help. He delivered meals to the elderly for many years after he grew elderly himself.
Max Lee loved the Lord and was a lifelong student of the Bible, as well as a lifelong member of the Southern Baptist Church. He led by example, striving to treat others as he wanted to be treated and abiding by the maxim that "honesty is the best policy."
He was a member of Cottage Hill Baptist Church, where he and Mary enjoyed the fellowship of a special Sunday school class, Waller and Evans Life Group.
Max is survived by his daughters, Jan Lee Pettersen (Scott) and Anita Lee, stepson Joe Blackmon (Cyndi), and granddaughters Alix Hannah Peterson (Mike), Abby Bodway (Brian), and Grace Blackmon. He also had four great-grandchildren.
His three older siblings, Roscoe Lee, Vernon Watkins, and Nell Jones preceded him in death, as did his baby sister, Audrey. He is survived by sister Patsy Wilkins (Joe) and younger brother John Carl "Buddy" Lee (Billie).
Max is also survived by the dog that he and Mary rescued in their final years, Lady, who will move to a loving home with one of his daughters.
He left this world with no business unfinished and the certainty that he was loved as he had loved his family, friends, and all those who appreciated his kindness.
His family would like to thank his devoted caretaker and closest friend, Donna Hillman, and her husband, Robert, for their love and kindness to him. He would never have reached 94 years of age without Donna.
Caretakers from Touching Hearts Senior Care, who were touched by his kindness and enjoyed his sense of humor, also treated him with love and compassion.
The family also would like to thank the staff of Gentiva Hospice for their compassion and care in his final days.
In lieu of flowers, his family requests donations to the charity of one's choice, especially those assisting people or animals in need.
Funeral services will be Thursday, Dec. 22, at Mobile Memorial Gardens Funeral Home, with burial to follow at Memorial Gardens Cemetery. Visitation begins at 1 p.m., with the service starting at 2 p.m.