Max Albert Makich died on Sunday, May 14, 2023, in Glasgow, Montana after a long illness.
Max was born in Great Falls, Montana, on July 12, 1932. His mother, Mary Landa, had immigrated as a girl to Montana from Bohemia to homestead with her family at Coffee Creek. His father, Mike Makich (born Metrovich), had immigrated from Montenegro and was the section foreman in the town of Square Butte for the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad. He had one older sister, Marcella. The communities and geography of Montana, and the history and lively incidents of the Milwaukee Road, were central to his life, as were the work ethic and stoicism of his parents.
He attended Square Butte and Geraldine schools as a child. After two years at the College of Great Falls, he transferred to the University of Montana to obtain a Bachelor of Science degree in pharmacy in 1955, earning tuition by shoveling coal for the Milwaukee Road. He was an outstanding and precise student. He followed his degree with an internship at Tork’s Drug in Glasgow before spending two years as a medic in the Army at Fort Lewis in Washington.
Max started his own pharmacy at the Smith Clinic in Glasgow, which later moved downtown and was a mainstay business in Valley County until 1999. He provided dedicated, compassionate and meticulous care to patients in Valley County and beyond for more than 40 years.
Max married Kathleen Owen in 1967. She survives him, as does their daughter Ann and her son Charles, of Missoula, and their daughter Jane and her son Rex, of San Francisco. He was preceded in death by his parents and by his sister, Marcella Makich Knedler. His kindness and sensitivity made him a wonderful husband, father and grandfather. Kathy’s extraordinarily loving and loyal care of him in his last years was a profound testament to their deep partnership in life and work.
After Max closed the pharmacy, he and Kathy had grand times attending Milwaukee Road Historical Association events throughout the West, hiking and exploring Montana and its less-traveled treasures, and spending time with their daughters and grandsons in New York City, San Francisco and Europe. He was always a curious and thoughtful traveller, but was a prairie Montanan through and through. He also carried with him principles of humanism, including a belief in justice and fairness, and in the capacity of reason and science to solve problems. He hated religious dogmatism and radical corporate greed and exploitation of people and the natural world.
Bell Mortuary in Glasgow is conducting cremation, and the family plans a private memorial on Square Butte in the near future. The kind and professional care given by the staff at the Valley View Home was deeply appreciated by Max and his family, who hope that such care will remain available to all Montanans who need it.
If you would like to memorialize Max, please consider a donation to the Montana Historical Society, the Valley County Historical Society or the Milwaukee Road Historical Association. Condolences may be left for the family at bellmortuarymontana.com.