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Max Bookless

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Max Bookless 1918-2012Tri-town Health Inspector, Berkshire Community College Cafeteria Director, Entrepreneur, Milkman, Athlete, and Veteran PITTSFIELD Max Bookless, 93, of 23 Foote Avenue passed away January 27, 2012 after a full life and short illness. Born in Pittsfield, on December 30, 1918 he was the son of the late Anna (Samuels) and Samuel Bookless Mr. Bookless graduated from Pittsfield High School in 1937, and Bordentown (NJ) Military Academy in 1939. During World War II, Mr Bookless saw combat with the Americal Army Infantry division, Phillipines and served in the army of occupation in Japan. His perspective on war since always started with his compassion for the enlisted men and women. He labored in his father's dairy business, the White Cross Dairy before and after the war. During the 1960's he opened and operated Maria's Grinder Shop at two locations in Pittsfield. It was there the famous 15¢ "sauce grinder" was innovated. A few years later, the administrators from Berkshire Community College recruited Mr. Bookless to run the first concession at the growing Second Street campus in Pittsfield. Mr. Bookless forged many lifelong friendships during those exciting days. This position transitioned to employment as food services manager at the new Berkshire Community College campus on West Street, a position he retired from in 1983 at the age of 65. Max was always quick to feed a student, or for that matter anyone who crossed his path who was short of cash, and led a sympathetic ear and real help to those who seemed confused, lost or lonely. He befriended many. Mr. Bookiess was then hired by the Tri Town Health Dept. (Lenox Lee, and Stockbridge) as a certified health inspector. He was responsible for the idea that food handlers should be certified, and worked until such a requirement-known as ServeSafe training- became law in Massachusetts. He retired from that position at age 80. Mr. Bookless volunteered as a driver for Elder Services until 2012. Throughout his life Max enjoyed athletics. He played baseball and varsity football at PHS and Bordentown, and played semi-pro ball for the Asci Coal Heavers. He coached women's volleyball at the YMCA, and was inducted into the Berkshire County Men's Volleyball Hall of Fame in 1987. He regularly played handball, racquetball, and tennis. Well into his later years "the boys" from the racquetball days met for breakfast every Saturday morning gracing various establishments throughout Berkshire County. Max was never shy to offer "constructive" health regulation tips to owners and waitstaff. Until 2008 he helped organize his annual Pittsfield High class reunions and luncheons, as well as BCC retiree luncheons. Mr. Bookless was a member of Knesset Israel Synagogue, where he regularly attended evening minyan (he was a Minyonaire). He was also a member of the Jewish War Veterans, the Berkshire County Deputy Sheriff Association, and the Retired State County and Municipal employees association. He served as President of the Berkshire County Board of Health Association, and the Massachusetts Milk and Food Association, as well as a member of the Mass. Health Officers Association and the Mass. Environmental Health Association. Max was pre-deceased in 2002 by his beloved wife Shirley Lazerus Bookiess whom he married in 1941. He leaves two daughters Maxine Bookless of Boston, Nan Bookless of Pittsfield; a son Bruce Bookless of Florida; his sister Eleanor (Bookless) Liss and her husband Joseph Liss of Naples, Florida. He is also survived by another sister Evelyn (Bookless) Reder. He was pre-deceased by two brothers Benjamin Bookless and Sanford Bookless, and a sister Muriel (Bookless) Medney. Max leaves a myriad of cousins, nieces and nephews, friends and acquaintencesas well as his treasured extend family Zevi Bar-Zeev and Dina Hochbaum and their families. Max was part of The Greatest Generation, it is difficult to imagine any generation living through the extent of change and advances that this group of people did. He was a colorful character, for which they broke the mold. He leaves a legacy of friendship, humor, acts of kindness and generosity. While many loved him, his daughters will miss him the most. FUNERAL NOTICE: Services will be held Sunday January 29 at 11 a.m. at Knesset Israel Synagogue, 16 Colt Rd. with Rabbi David Weiner, Spiritual Leader, Officiating immediately followed by burial at Knesset Israel Cemetery. A meal of consolation will follow at Knesset Israel Synagogue. The family will receive friends during Shiva at 23 Foote Aveenue on Sunday, January 29 from 7 to 9 p.m., and Monday, January 30, and Tuesday, January 31, from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. with evening services at 7:15 p.m. at the home in lieu of Services at Knesset Israel Synagogue. In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be made to the Minyan Fund at Knesset Israel Synagogue, Pittsfield, MA or Elder Services of Berkshire County, or you may also plant a tree in Israel in Max's memory through the Jewish Fedration of the Berkshires. Flynn & Dagnoli-Bencivenga Funeral Home 5 Elm St. Pittsfield MA 01201 is in charge of arrangements.

Published in The Berkshire Eagle on Jan. 28, 2012
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