There’s no great way to say this, and he wouldn’t want us to make a fuss, but our father, brother, and friend, Max Bertola, passed away of natural causes on March 23 while living in Port Dickson, Malaysia.
Max was an adventurer and a loving father who spent his life teaching others. He was slightly crazy and always fun!
Max loved to travel, and he spent the last few years of his life living next to the beaches in Egypt and Malaysia. He had an endless sense of adventure, taking his children on 14 Mile hikes through Uinta mountains, 20 Mile bike rides across Southern Utah, raising rabbits, and flying around the globe. He shared his adventures through his photography and occasionally published his work in a self-published guide and website, with a signature line read “Max Bertola, The Adventure Specialist”
He was a lifelong learner and could always be found marking up the latest technical manual – sometimes while driving. In 2001, he completed his M.S. in English – Technical Writing and Professional Communications, and from 2012-2015 he was a PhD candidate in Instructional Design and Educational Technology.
He was an exuberant character, always scheming about his next adventure or business idea. Max could belt out John Denver and the 3 Tenors like nobody’s business – even if it was off key, and at 6am on a Saturday. He had an exhausting sense of humor. If his jokes weren’t funny, you couldn’t help but laugh with his laugh, and it was impossible not to be his friend.
He was a practical philosopher and gave great counsel to many. He could often be heard sharing wisdom like: “Never trust a skinny chef”, “Life’s too short to dance with ugly women” and “Tis not a wonder that a bear dances poorly, tis a wonder that the bear dances at all.”
Max was one of the hardest workers. Most of his life he juggled two or three jobs and always made sure his family had a home and food, and he selflessly sacrificed his own wishes to care for others. He spent a few years working at the prison as a Corrections Officer and Training Administrator – a convenient source of one-liners for himself and the rest of the family. During his time at the Dept. of Corrections, he founded an award winning inmate-to-inmate literacy program in addition to overseeing a reading for the blind audio recording project.
It was a running joke of his that bad salesman had skinny kids, and if you saw his kids you’d know why that was funny. Max served an LDS mission in Hamburg, Germany, and used his german language skills on many occasions. If you were at a national park and ran across a German speaker, he’d strike up a conversation and occasionally bring them home. Our door was always open, literally, and more than a few times he’d bring home stray travelers.
He always said to leave while you’re still having fun, and dammit, he was right. He lived 60 great years, and 60 out of 63 ain’t bad! Dad, we’re mad at you for leaving, You big jerk, but we’re proud to have been yours. People like him leave a big hole in the lives they touch, but we’re glad to have shared it with him. When he passes through those pearly gates, he’ll be greeted by his parents, Keith and Jean, and his grand-daughter, Alice. His surviving sister, two brothers, 9 children and 22 grand-children look forward to adventures with him again!
There will be no formal services. In his own words: “I do not wish to have a funeral. I’ve always hated them and do not wish to even attend my own.”
Instead, Join us in celebrating his life and legacy by sharing memories and photos on his facebook page. Yah-ta-hey, and “God bless the internet!”
Max Kay Bertola
June 4th,1955 – March 23rd, 2018