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Max Duane Oldham


Max Duane Oldham, 85, passed away on April 10, 2021 at his home in Springfield, Missouri.

Born April 5, 1936, in Stockton, Missouri, Max was the son of Cletis Paul Oldham and Bertie Sortors Oldham. In 1954, he graduated from Stockton High School, where he was an outstanding athlete. He met his best friend, Janice Arlene Higgins, in Stockton’s fifth and sixth grade classroom, and they were married on March 3, 1957.

Max played basketball for Southwest Missouri State College and was selected to MIAA All-Conference teams in 1956 and1958. In 1958 the UPI named him the MVP of the MIAA; he also received the MIAA Sportsmanship Award and the Dr. Virgil Cheek Award as Outstanding Senior Athlete.  He was a member of Kappa Alpha fraternity and received his BSE degree from SMS in 1958.  Max also received his MS degree from Pittsburg State, Kansas, and his EdD degree from Oklahoma State, Stillwater.

Max served as coach/teacher in Mountain Grove and Carthage High Schools and as coach/assistant professor at Sterling College, Kansas, where he was named NAIA District 10 Coach of the Year in 1969. He was inducted into the Southwest Missouri State University Athletic Hall of Fame in 1979.

Max taught for 25 years in the Department of Kinesiology at Missouri Southern State College, Joplin. During his tenure at MSSC, he served four years as Athletic Director and nineteen years as Kinesiology Department Head. In 1997 he received the MSSC Outstanding Teacher Award.

In 1998 Max and Janice retired to Springfield where they became active members of Friends of the Library and enjoyed “mentoring” their grandchildren.

His survivors include his wife, Janice; a son, Mark Oldham, Springfield; a daughter, Amy Egger, Springfield; five grandchildren, Katrina Rush and husband, Darren, Nixa; Jennifer Poertner and husband, Joe, Brandon Egger, Katelyn Egger and Cole Egger, all of Springfield; three great-grandchildren, Robin Rush, Brian Rush and Wendell Rush, Nixa; a sister, Betty Walker, St. Helens, OR; a sister-in-law, Betty Layman and husband, Ronnie, Crocker; a brother-in-law, Joe Bush, Walker, and several dear nieces, nephews and cousins.      

Max was preceded in death by his parents and his brother, Joe Oldham.  

As Max requested, no services will be held.

Memorials may be made to MSSU, 3950 East Newman Road, Joplin, 64801 or to MSU, 300 South Jefferson, Suite 100, Springfield, 65806.