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Henry J. (Max) Schmeling

1924 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
Henry J. (Max) Schmeling Obituary

Henry John (Max) Schmeling was born in Windber, Pennsylvania on May 17, 1924, to Henry and Evelyn Schmeling, and was the second of five boys. Max was preceded in death by his loving wife of 60 years, Rosalie Schmeling, and two of his brothers, Robert Schmeling of Tucson, Arizona in 2011, and Stanton Schmeling, who was killed in Okinawa in 1945. Max is survived by his son Michael Schmeling, of Bakersfield, and daughter Fredine (John) Opheim of Bakersfield, grandson David (Julie) Opheim of Paso Robles, CA, granddaughter Karen (Brian) Vikstrom of Davis, CA. He very much loved his great grandchildren, Carson Opheim, Zoe, Maya, Eli and Brynn Vikstrom. At age 17, Windber High School offered to immediately graduate all Senior Students who would support America in World War II, by joining the armed services. Max became a Marine, heading for the South Pacific. He played on the Marines football team (He said to avoid Guard Duty) proving to be very good in the game. Max was deployed in the assaults on Guadalcanal, and Bougainvillea, where he was seriously wounded during the fighting. Max was evacuated back to San Diego where he was hospitalized for over a year. It was in San Diego where he met young Rosalie Ames his soon to be wife. Prior to moving to Bakersfield Max lived in the mountain community of Frazier Park, near where he worked in the construction of the water tunnels for the State Water Project at Edmonston Pumping Plant. He later opened and operated his own construction company CalVada Construction and H.J.Schmeling Construction Company. Max was very active in the Frazier Park area, sponsoring several activities for the teenagers. Max started and coached the Mountain Drum and Bugle Corps, a teen group involved in parades and festivities around California. He was Coach and Sensei for Frazier Park Judo Club, a group of students who competed at meets around the state. He started the Mountain Downhill Derby, an event that grew and involved the whole town and closed the main road for the better part of the afternoons. Max touched many people's lives and will be missed everyone who had the pleasure of knowing him. He was aiming for his 92nd birthday celebration, and came close. Max's family would like to thank all of his friends for their love and support as he weakened during his final days. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, April 1, 2016 at St. Francis Church, 900 H St. Bakersfield, CA.


Published in Bakersfield Californian on Mar. 30, 2016
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