In Loving Memory Of
James « Max » Herbert Maxwell Henning
James “Max” Herbert Maxwell Henning, longtime resident of Grande Prairie, AB, passed away on Thursday, June 3, 2021, at the age of 97.
Max was born in Lorlie, SK, on April 30, 1924. In the spring of 1928, Max, along with his Mom, Dad, and three sisters, made the long journey to Grande Prairie. The drive took 6 days with the model T car loaded high.
Max was an avid competitor in many sports during his early school years. Shortly after graduating high school Max enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force. Once his Royal Canadian Air Force pilot training was completed, he was assigned to the Royal Air Force, Squadron 226 and stationed in Hartford Bridge, England, where he flew many missions with his aircrew. His 226 Squadron was re-assigned to Vitre-en Artois, France. Home and family were treasured even more after this experience. In 2014, he was awarded the rank of Knight of the French National Order of the Legion of Honour in recognition of his efforts in the war, which succeeded in liberating France.
Max married Marie McFetridge on August 5, 1948. Over the next 6 years they completed the family with 3 children: Cam, Donna and Brenda. They were married for 57 years, until Marie passed away in 2005. Max and Marie built their homes with the help of tradesmen but essentially did most of the work themselves.
Max had many firsts! He drove a Model T car in one of the first races held in 1945 which was sponsored by the Legion and Athletic Associations. He and his friend Ray built one of the first riverboats in the area, also an airboat with an airplane propeller. He and his friends were one of the first trekkers into the Kinuso Falls area in the early 40’s. They forded rivers and streams with only a jeep and winch and when those failed they continued on foot. He built a cabin at Sturgeon Lake, which was a second home to the family during the summer.
Over the next few years Max kept busy doing many community activities, as well as playing, coaching and managing hockey teams. For a complete hockey profile, have a look at the articles written by Stan & Ron Neufeld on the GP Hockey Legends website. Max was very proud of the fact that he hired the first paid hockey player for the junior hockey league.
Max was a Volunteer Fire Fighter for over 23 years from about 1946-1971. He served as part of the executive of the Legion, the executive of the Athletic Association, was a cub master for 2 years, was on the Recreation Board for the city for 2 years, and served as President of the GP Kinsmen. He was one of the first people in Grande Prairie to become a lifetime member of the Kinsmen Club/K-40. He managed the Kinsmen Radio Bingo from the CFGP Radio Station, just after it was moved from Campbell Hill on the north side of town. Most of all he loved cutting and selling the Christmas trees to raise funds for their community activities. He would bring a “Charlie Brown” tree to life by screwing in branches and realigning the shapes until the tree had perfect military precision. Max and Pete Wright would spend days travelling the back roads, scouting for the best trees. They’d flag them and then when the time was right, go “collecting”.
Max officially joined local politics as a City Alderman in 1964 until 1972. I say officially because politics were often topics of conversation and debates around the table and campfire.
Max believed in healthy competition and felt that choice and options were important. As a result, in 1979, he and a few friends obtained a license to start a new radio station called CJXX. The towers were built on Max and Marie’s property on the edge of the city.
For many years Max supported the Golden Age Centre by serving in various executive positions and as the general handyman.
Mac Arabians grew from the year Cam won a pony at the County Fair and it grew to Max and Marie raising and training beautiful Arabian horses. Max did everything but ride the horses. He was even known to run in the show ring a time or two.
Family always came first with Max, then community and neighbours, with sports vying into every spare moment. Even though he would say he wasn’t a social man, he’d meet his buddies at Mah’s with Kenny, Norm, or Pete, every morning to catch up on the happenings of the community (just in case he missed something when he was at the hockey arena). Lifelong friendships were formed and were important to Max. From war time to living in a seniors’ lodge, Max forged connections with people. He was a person people were automatically drawn to with his dry wit and ready smile. He would never gossip or speak poorly of another person.
Max loved to drive over to Cam’s store and count the inventory to see “what’s moving” today. He’d drive down to the farm and see how many hay bales were hauled or if the snow needed plowing. When Max gave up his driver’s license his world changed but he adapted by becoming the “firewood controller” at Wild Rose Manor. He’d make arrangements for wood delivery, stacked it in the shed and then doled it out a piece at a time. “We had to make it last the winter you know!”, he’d say.
He enjoyed being on the water, rivers or lakes, picking berries, hockey, raising horses, baseball, counting inventory in and out of Cam’s shop, and most of all, spending time with family and friends. He firmly believed that you support those you love and give back to make the community a better place.
Max is greatly missed by his children: Cam (Dianna) Henning, Donna (Blaine) Thomson, and Brenda Henning; grandchildren: Cindy (Jason) Boyd-Bowdring, Tina Finch (Ray Binks), Jason (Tammy) Finch, Natalie (Dave) Rowney, Craig Henning, and Erin Henning (Ryan Tollefson); 8 great-grandchildren: Tyler, Sierra, Gavin, Kendra, Caylin, Brianne, Jessica, and Riley; 3 great great-grandsons; as well as two sisters Jean Jones and Alice Band.
He was predeceased by his wife Marie; parents Len and Vel; sisters Marie and Millie, brother Jim, as well as grandson Derek Boyd.
A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date.
A heartfelt thank you to Dr. Barreth and all the staff at the Prairie Lakes Hospice for the compassionate and respectful care provided to Dad!
Memorial donations may be made to Kin Club of Grande Prairie (P.O. Box 404 Station Main, Grande Prairie, AB, T8V 3A5), Angel Flight Alberta (C/O Lloyd Sherk,, P.O Box 1007, Beaverlodge, AB, T0H 0C0), GP Hockey Legends (C/O Stan Neufeld, 10106 86 Ave., Grande Prairie, AB, T8V 0A7), or to Grande Prairie Palliative Care Society (#204, 10134-97 Ave., Grande Prairie, AB, T8V 7W6 or online at www.gpcare.ca).
Nos plus sincères sympathies à la famille et aux amis de James Max Herbert Maxwell Henning April 30 1924 June 3 2021..
Décès pour la Ville: Grande-Prairie, Province: Alberta