I had the honor and privilege of visiting VAMC Loma Linda, CA a few weeks ago. In the course of spending time with my grandfather, T. Max Prueitt, in his last days, I was able to meet some great veterans. These are men of great resolve; knowing they are going to live out the rest of their lives in the Community Living Center. The pride and resolve of these men truly inspires me to be a better man and patriot.
In particular, my grandfather is amazingly at peace with the terms of his condition. It is a great relief, but no surprise. Max has always been a rather strong man. As a young man, he traveled the West test drilling for oil. He worked on oil rigs in Texas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma just to name a few places. He served in the U. S. Army as a Combat Patterhorn. I asked him what a Combat Patterhorn did. He didn’t know. I knew him as a retail clerk.
Max worked in the same store as my father, uncle and grandma. Grandma was a divorced mother of three grown daughters. She and Max had a long lasting marriage that survived all of the ups and downs that would destroy most marriages these days. Max was, and still is, madly in love with my grandmother, Marcella right up to the day she went to be with the Lord.
There came a time when Grandma could not live at home. Every single day that she spent in the nursing home, he was there. He came straight from work the visit his bride and stayed until the nurses insisted he go home to bed. Max integrated into the family as if there were a spot built just for him.
The was never any doubt that Max Prueitt was a part of our family. He is a step-father to my mom, dad, aunts and uncles. He is grandfather to my sister, myself and cousins. Max fills a very special place in every life he touches.
For me, Grandpa filled many roles. As a grandfather, Max knocks the ball out of the park. He included me into all of his different likes and hobbies. Camping, bottle collecting and lapidary are just a few of the many sides to a very talented man. Because my father wasn’t always able to be in my life, Max has always been ready to step up to the task of being a second father. Grandpa was the first to seriously communicate the concepts of Christianity to me in a way that planted the seeds of my salvation in the following years. As my spiritual brother, Max and I have been able to share the many things God has taught each of us in our own walks with Jesus. Finally, Max is my fraternal brother. From the earliest days, I remember his beautiful gold ring with a red jewel decorated with the Great Light symbols of Freemasonry. He always told me that he would be happy to introduce me to the Fraternity as soon as I was old enough. As I grew up, I knew that if a man like Grandpa was a Freemason, it must be a great institution of which I wanted to be a part.
I’ve been working on this post for a while. I have given it great thought and reflection. But, I don’t know if I can finish it. This morning, November 4, 2011, Mr. Truman Maxwell “Max” Prueitt died from Cancer at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Loma Linda, California. He is survived by three step-daughters, six grandchildren, twelve great-grandchildren and six great-great grandchildren. Additionally a great many nieces and nephews and all their children. The World will be dimmer place from now on.
Goodbye, Grandpa. You will be sorely missed.
Your loving grandson,