Max LaMar Jones, Jr. June 13, 1937 - September 9, 2018
Reno - After enjoying his Sunday outing surveying the neighborhood ponds, with ducks in sight and tules abundant, Max LaMar Jones, Jr. passed away in the afternoon on September 9, 2018.
Max was born June 13, 1937 in Ogden, Utah to Max L. Jones and Lura Ida Miller. Shortly after his birth, he returned with his parents to the family home, a small miner's cabin with dirt floors, in Jarbidge, Nevada, where his father, Max, worked as a gold miner.
For the first four years of his life, Max's family moved frequently in pursuit of mining work which declined as the Great Depression ensued. The Jones family resided in Austin, Tonopah, Colfax, Fallon, Reno and ultimately Gardnerville, the place Max would call home during his youth. His parents eventually purchased the Gardnerville Safeway, renamed it the Gardnerville Food Store, and the Jones family grew with the births of younger sisters, Lura, Eileen and Mary Jane. From the moment each sister was born, he carried a twinkle in his eye for each.
In first grade, Max met the love of his life, Honor Settelmeyer. They became "boyfriend/girlfriend" in the fourth grade, continued dating through high school, married in college, and the rest of Max's life journey was one shared with Honor. They celebrated their sixty-first wedding anniversary in 2017.
Max worked in the family grocery store from its start through his high school years. Max, fondly known as LaMar during his youth and always by his family, was an honor student, all-around athlete and a trumpet player in the school band. He was one of fourteen graduates of Douglas County High School's class of 1955. He was honored to attend Boys State. There, he was introduced as "Max" and LaMar became known as Max thereafter.
In high school, Max also worked on the Bureau of Reclamation's planned Stampede Reservoir Project survey team. This sparked his interest in engineering, an interest that would capture him for the rest of his life.
Max was a Harold's Club Scholar. This prestigious full ride scholarship was awarded annually to one graduating senior from each of Nevada's 16 high schools. He enrolled at the University of Nevada, Reno where he pursued his degree in Electrical Engineering. Max was active on campus as Sophomore Class President and a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. Off campus, he enjoyed playing trumpet for the Reno Municipal Band and worked in grocery stores and in the Golden Rooster Room at John Ascuaga's Nugget.
In 1957, with great delight, Max and Honor 's son, Max III, was born. Max was so proud to have a namesake son who increased the "Max count" to three.
Max completed UNR's ROTC program and in 1959 was commissioned as Second Lieutenant in the United States Army. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering and his P.E. license in 1960. While awaiting his orders, Max worked in Pacific Gas and Electric's engineering department in San Jose.
Max served his active duty commitment as a cadre officer in the Army Corps of Engineers at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. While there, again with delight, daughter Lynne was born and the Jones family grew to four.
Max completed airborne school at Ft. Benning, Georgia and managed logistics during the Cuban Missile Crisis. He served at the Pentagon for the remainder of his active duty career. Following active duty, Captain Jones served six years in the 979th Army Reserve unit in Reno, including service as the unit's commanding officer.
After his active duty discharge, Max joined Sierra Pacific Power Company (now NV Energy) in Reno. He began as a transmission planner and was quickly promoted. He served as one of SPPCo's youngest managers. Max later served as Vice President, Engineering, Senior Vice President, Planning, Engineering and Construction, and Vice President of Marketing. While developing his company vision, he was also known as a tough manager but one who believed in challenging those he supervised to excel. Several of the employees he supervised went on to serve as SPPCo executives. While at SPPCo, Max was accepted to and completed the Stanford Graduate School of Business Executive Program. In addition, he served on many energy and engineering related boards such as the Pacific Coast Gas Association and IEEE.
Max retired from SPPCo after thirty-one years of service. He began consulting in renewable energy and alternative power sources, believing it was our country's future. He founded EnergySource, LLC, utilizing his vision and knowledge of alternative energy sources.
Max is credited as one of Nevada's true pioneers of renewable energy and energy conservation. While consulting, he convinced UNR President Joe Crowley and the Board of Regents funding could be secured to implement conservation applications, initially saving UNR nearly $1 million annually in utility costs, approximately $6+ million annual savings today. He undertook these same energy cost savings studies for John Ascuaga's Nugget, the Silver Legacy and the Eldorado amongst others.
Max was the inaugural Distinguished Nevada Engineer Award recipient. The award bearing his name honors Max for his long esteemed professional career at one company and his vision in advancing renewable energy, decades before it was popularly known. The award recognized his professional career and his life long history of community service. Melanie Parish, then Assistant to the Dean of the University of Nevada, Reno, College of Engineering stated, "Max touched many lives at UNR and in the community, through his service work with many organizations and in his long career in the energy field."
Max loved the outdoors. As a youth he enjoyed it by hunting and scouting with his father, also his Scout Master. Max also chose to instill in his children a love of and respect for the outdoors. An Eagle Scout himself, he shared his talents and experiences as Scout Master of Max III's Troop 76. He introduced extended seasonal trips, such as annual 50-mile hikes through the Ruby Mountains and snow camping. Max served on the Boy Scouts of America-Nevada Area Council and its Board and was a charter member of the Nevada Eagle Scout Association. In 1994, he received the Nevada Area Council's Silver Beaver Award for his scouting service as well as the district's Award of Merit. He also received the elite scouting award in recognition of his professional career and community service.
Max also led Lynne's middle school Camp Fire Girls group. He spent many summer weekends at Camp We-Ch-Me renovating the facilities with the girls. And, perhaps most challenging, he and Max III took a group of four middle school girls on a four-day backpacking trip around Matterhorn Peak near Bridgeport.
Max's deep love for his Labrador retrievers was well known. Where Max went, so went at least one of his dogs in the Labcab. He was heartbroken when Major, Miklos, Coco, Bronco, Hook, and K.C. passed. Max took great pride in training, hunting and competing with his dogs on local and national levels. Max was a member and President of the Sierra Nevada Retriever Club and belonged to the Master National Retriever Club and Amateur National Club. Max was just as comfortable bell ringing for the Salvation Army with his dog at his side, or taking his lab to the hospital to visit patients, as he was putting together and presenting a proposal that would (and did) bring the first ever fourteen-day Master National Retriever Hunt Test Trials to Carson Valley, Nevada.
Hunting was Max's lifeblood. His ideal day was heading out early, spending the day in the duck blind with his dogs (the dogs watching for birds while Max read work articles or napped), making the shot after the dogs alerted him, and returning to report the extraordinary retrieves of his remarkable dogs.
Improving community through volunteerism was instilled in Max as a youth. Throughout his life, he was involved in multiple community non-profit organizations where his vision and leadership skills usually led him to the role of chair or president. Max's membership in the Reno Central Rotary Club was deeply important to him. He served as the club's president and was a Paul Harris fellow. As he navigated life, he often called upon Rotary's Four-Way Test to guide him. He served on the EDAWN board to better our community. He was active in and volunteered for Ducks Unlimited. He assisted the Red Cross, Step2, the Salvation Army and other community boards. Simply put, he always had an iron in the fire helping with charitable endeavors in some way.
Max possessed endless energy and experienced a lifetime of excellent health. In 2000, however, he began experiencing motor neuron impairment and, ultimately, was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Lou Gehrig's disease. His second career slowed and his hobbies and community work decreased as ALS became Max and Honor's biggest life challenge. Max valiantly fought ALS for years. He adopted his new "normal" life as an armchair TV golf enthusiast and news expert, with a dog by his side, enjoying and celebrating his family's activities, and quietly recounting memories of a life well-lived. Honor was his Rock of Gibraltar, his guiding light, his cheerleader and selfless provider of constant and excellent care. The Jones family is also forever grateful for the team of providers and caregivers who assisted with Max's care over the years, most notably Tally, Kingsley, Erika, Tessie, Nancy, Jason, Robert Fliegler, M.D. and Kevin Kiena, M.D.
Max's strength of spirit and will to live in the most difficult of circumstances will remain inspirational, unforgotten, and cherished by those who knew and loved him.
Max was predeceased by parents, Max L. Jones and Lura Ida Miller Jones. He is survived by his wife Honor, son Max III (Patti), daughter Lynne (Mark), five grandchildren, Caitlin, Katrina, Elissa, Max and Nick, his three sisters, Lura Lee Jones, Eileen Decker and Mary Jane Robinson (Kirk) and numerous nephews and nieces.
A memorial service for Max will be held at St. Luke's Lutheran Church, 3835 Lakeside Drive, Reno, on Saturday, September 29, 2018, at two o'clock in the afternoon, with a reception to follow at 4430 Mountaingate Drive, Reno. A private interment will occur on a day subsequent.
As a remembrance, you may wish to consider a contribution in Max's memory to the Max L. Jones, Jr. Scholarship Endowment in Renewable Energy, UNR Foundation, Mail Stop 0162, Reno, NV 89557, or, the ALS Association Nevada Chapter, 3191 E. Warm Springs, Las Vegas NV 89120.