Max O. Burford, of Jacksonville, Ore., went to be with the Lord on November 15, 2011, with his family by his side. He was born July 17, 1917, in Rockville, Ind. At a very young age, Max's family moved to Long Beach, Calif., where Max's father was in search of employment as a finish carpenter.
Max displayed his positive work ethic by selling magazines and newspapers to help support his family. Completing primary and secondary education in Long Beach, Calif., Max displayed a superior ability in accounting which would serve him well in his business career.
Out of school, Max gained employment at a Ford Motor dealership. Starting as a lot boy, Max climbed to the position of general manager of accounting at the Ford dealership.
On May 10, 1938, Max married Ruby I. Davis. A few years into their marriage, Max enlisted into the U.S. Army to help with the war effort. Early in 1942, Max completed basic and advanced training. While waiting for deployment, Max was ordered to the War College in Washington, D.C. Later, he participated in the winter engagement to become known as The Battle of the Bulge. Max was with a detachment behind German lines for information gathering. He was awarded the bronze star for meritorious service during the European Campaign. After V.E. Day, Max returned to Ruby before leaving for Asia. The war with Japan ended before his deployment date.
After serving his country, Max returned to his accounting career and settled in to a routine of husband, businessman and father. Max and Ruby were blessed with a beautiful daughter in September 1946, naming her Valerie Lorene.
Max wanted his own dealership, and an agreement was made with a financial backer to open a General Motors agency in Grants Pass, Ore. Early in 1951, Max was a G.M. dealer with a partner selling all of the General Motor's line except Chevrolet. During these six years, Max fulfilled his desire to become a pilot. Earning his private pilot certificate and buying several private aircrafts, he was invited to an active position on the Board of Commission to the Grants Pass Airport. A bronze plaque at the airport bears his name to this day.
While at the Grants Pass G.M. dealership, Max was approached by General Motors offering a Chevrolet franchise in Lindsay, Calif. The summer of 1961 found Max as a Chevrolet dealer in the Central Valley of Calif. During the years in Lindsay, Calif., Max continued his interest in aviation and purchased a new high performance airplane in 1965.
Always wanting his business to grow, Max added Buick to his selling line. On his birthday in 1965, he moved into his new building of Burford Chevy-Buick which he had designed. His design was featured in a national magazine, noting several of its unique features.
Wanting to slow down, Max and Ruby decided to retire and return to their favorite place, the Rogue Valley. After working so many years side by side, they settled in Ashland. Max and Ruby became avid square dancers until the loss of his beloved wife of 42 years in February 1979.
Max is survived by his daughter, Valerie (Tom) MacLennan, of Jacksonville, Ore.; grandson, Steve (Allison), of Phoenix, Ore.; granddaughter, Terri (Arne), of Dalles, Ore.; six great grandchildren; and his wife, Virginia E. Mayfield Burford, of Medford, Ore.
A celebration of life will be held at Medford Friends Church, 525 DeBarr Avenue, at the corner of Table Rock Road, Medford, OR 97501, at 11:00 a.m., Saturday, December 3, 2011. Pastor Jim Fields will officiate. A reception will be held in the church's fellowship hall after the service. All family and friends are invited.