Sedro-Woolley's very own "ecocentric" icon, Max Alaways, passed away at the Life Care Center of Skagit Valley on January 22, 2013, 2 days after his 81st birthday.
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Max was born in Sedro-Woolley and grew up on the south bank of the Skagit River on Route 9. He was the son of the long time shingle mill owner, Onias Alaways. Max dropped out of high school in his sophomore year to serve two tours in the Army during the Korean War.
He never married. After returning home from the war he successfully built two shake and one shingle mills on the property where he lived with his mother, Clara, who helped him run the mills. After her death, the mills declined and he moved into town to a one-room house and began his life as the city icon in 1990.
He became interested in publications on philosophy. Many of the books he obtained he reprinted as "Brought back to life my Max Alaways". He would give these books to anyone he met on the street. He thought the schools should have these books and would approach the school board with his ideas. He even ran once, unsuccessfully, for the School Board.
He helped many homeless by offering them a place to stay in a trailer on his property.
He was "independent, obstinate, opinionated and ornery", which made him someone the people of Sedro-Woolley will remember for a long time.
The Mayor said, "I'll never forget how news crews would somehow manage to find Max anytime Sedro-Woolley was featured on televison. With his death, Max's favorite bench in town will never be the same. I'll miss him".
He was preceded in death by his sister, Mary Marquart of Burlington.
He leaves two sisters, Jeanne Johnson of La Conner and Patsy Hogan of Kensington, Maryland; two brothers, Andy of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and Del of Chico, California along with numerous nieces and nephews.
Arrangements are under the direction of Lemley Chapel.
Although there will be no public services, private inurnment will be at Union Cemetery, Sedro-Woolley. To share your memories of Max, please visit their web page at lemleychapel.com.
Published in Skagit Valley Herald Publishing Company on January 27, 2013