Max L. Fairchild, 89, passed away peacefully of natural causes on April 28, 2019, at Olympic Memorial Hospital in Port Angeles, Washington. Max was born on Nov. 12, 1929, in Buhl, Idaho, to Orville and Ida (Hansen) Fairchild.
As a youth, Max grew up in the Melon Valley area of Buhl, Idaho, where he and his four brothers would trek eight miles round-trip to their one-room schoolhouse, often forging through unplowed roads in the hard Idaho winters. Max, tired of walking, started buying broken down Model-T’s for $5 on credit, restoring them for sale, and developed a life-long passion for trading vehicles. Max joined the Army in 1945 but on his bus journey to report to boot camp, the bus promptly hit a horse and Max flew through the window. Max liked to joke that he got a ‘war scar’ which was the only thing he received from his 12-hour army stint, as it wasn’t long enough to get a pension! At the ripe old age of 15 Max bought his first truck to haul hay, and his love for trucking and the art of a deal led to, in later years, his negotiation of a long-term contract for Safeway stores to haul their fruit and produce between California and Canada. Max and his wife Lee built up their fleet to 38 trucks in the Bitterroot Valley to accommodate this contract.
Max graduated high school in Port Angeles and met Leatrice “Lee” Prince when she was working at the local theatre as an usher. It was ‘instant mutual-love’ when Lee reprimanded Max for flirting with her, and the rest of the story is a 47-year history, a history of which Max felt was cut short by the passing of his soulmate in 1994. Max and Lee married in 1947 and moved to Idaho where they started a family and trucking company, and in 1963 relocated their six children to Hamilton, Montana, where they continued to run M. Fairchild Trucking Company for a total of 50 years. It was a running joke that you better be serious to make mention of wanting to learn to drive an 18-wheeler because Max would have you behind the wheel driving from California to Canada giving tutorials along the way!
Max found happiness in his great love for his family, nurturing many life-long friends, and never tiring of jumping in his semi to be ‘on the road again.’ When asked why he enjoyed driving a truck so much he would answer: “There’s no walking involved, and my wife doesn’t get tired of me!” Max lived life with the motto of “If you can’t laugh about it, you can’t live with it,” and his infectious sense of humor was catching. We feel truly blessed that Max was such a wonderful father and grandfather and his inspiring spirit will truly be missed.
Max was the only survivor of his five siblings and was preceded in death by his wife Leatrice “Lee” Prince Fairchild (1994), and sons Max “Les” Fairchild (2013) and Dennis Fairchild (2015).
He is survived by his four daughters: Vickie (Steve) Vieth of Hamilton; Lana Kerr of Jamestown, Washington; Kathy Schmitt of Bonney Lake, Washington; and Darcie DeChenne of Sequim, Washington; 16 grandchildren; 26 great-grandchildren, one great-great granddaughter.
A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m., July 14, at Red Cedar Hall, Jamestown S’Klallam Tribal Center, 1033 Old Blyn Highway, Blyn, WA.
Max’s ashes will be lain to rest alongside his beloved wife Lee in Hamilton, Montana where they lived for over thirty of their years together.
We Love you Dad. Your surviving children: Vickie, Lana, Kathy and Darcie.