Max Kempt McClure was born Oct. 3rd, 1925 in Braddyville Iowa to Eugenia Ruth and George Mort McClure. When he was 3 yrs. old his mother passed, and his father eventually married Pauline Gillespie. At age 7 he moved with his family to Yakima, Washington. He graduated from high school in 1943 in Zillah Washington and the same year he enlisted in the Army Air Corp.
Max had a fascination with flying and always wanted to be a pilot. Because of his size he was selected for gunnery training on a B24 bomber and was part of the Jolly Roger Bombers in WWII.
In the Spring of 1946, he met Arma Lee Hooper at the Fort Worth Zoo snake pit. He told his buddies “see that women, I’m going to marry her”. After dating for 4 months, they married Oct 5, 1946 in Eastland Texas. Out of that marriage 3 children, Pat, Robert and Betty, were born.
Max had a lot of adventures while serving his country. He was a witness to the most interesting aspect of the Japanese surrender and took pictures and developed them between two army cots, with army blankets and red and green filters from an army flashlight.
He served 2 tours in Germany, 1946 & 1959, 2 tours in Korea in 1953 & 1956. He was stationed at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma from 1955 to 1967 and retired from Ft. Sheridan in Chicago, Illinois as a Master Sgt E8. In the Spring of 1967, he and his family moved back to Lawton, Ok. He bought a Gulf Filling Station in 1968 at 102 E Lee Blvd. and became an active member of the community, particularly the La Sill Optimist Club, serving as President and Lt Gov for the State of Oklahoma. He sold his Gulf Station in 1985.
After retirement Max continued his love for flying. He built several gliders and flew one 31,000 feet over the Rocky Mountains. He also built a Q2 airplane from scratch. The plane flew and eventually achieved an air worthiness certificate from the FAA. He also went skydiving at the age of 75, just weeks after open heart surgery, with grandsons Preston and Brian.
Max was an avid fisherman and gardener. He loved the Lord, his wife, children and was especially fond of his grandchildren and great grandchildren. He was on the church board, very active in his church and loved his church family. He also delighted in throwing an annual fish fry for his church. He demonstrated how someone should live, highly motivated, adventurous and lived every day to the fullest. Max loved to travel, taking trips across the United States to include many to Hawaii, Canada, Alaska, and South Texas. He lost his wife of 73 years on Sept 3, 2016.
Max lived at the Veterans Center since 2016 where he peacefully passed at the age of 94, surrounded by family. He loved living at the VA center and considered everyone there to be family.
He is survived by 3 children, Pat Hynds, Robert McClure and wife Becky and Betty Griffith and husband Anthony and an adopted daughter Denise Dancer. Six grandchildren, Mindy Kimball and husband Ray, Chrystal Gibbs, Preston Gates and wife Ashley, Brian Gates, Amanda McClure and Rick McClure, and six great grandchildren. Two sisters, Barbara Blankenship and Christina Eckstrand. And many nieces and nephews.
He was receded in death by his parents, his beloved wife Arma McClure, brother Phillip McClure, sister Naomi McClure and son-in-law John Hynds.
Some of his last words were “It’s been a great ride”. Fly high Max!
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the First Church of the Nazarene Youth Group, 1402 NW Arlington, Lawton, OK 73507
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