Max Rouff, 98, passed away peacefully on March 15, 2023 at the Veterans Home of California—Fresno.
Born in 1924 in Wenatchee, Wash, Max and his older brother David were adopted by Fred and Anna Rouff, from Los Banos, Calif. Max attended Los Banos High School and held numerous school, Merced County and California State track and field records. Following the devastating attack at Pearl Harbor, Max graduated high school early and enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 1942.
Max attended Marine Corps Recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego and served with the 4th Marine Division. Max fought honorably with the division fighting through the Marshall Islands, Saipan, Tinian and Iwo Jima. After sustaining injuries during the battle of Iwo Jima and returning to Los Banos, he began his 50+ year entrepreneurial journey.
He began with whitewashing barns for farmers and ranchers in the surrounding Los Banos area. Working with customers in the rural areas, he started a butane/propane and appliances company called Max L Rouff & Company. He was able to service his customers who required propane and provide them with appliances that were compatible. During this same time-period he also opened RoMax, which was a heating and air conditioning company. Then he saw a need for better quality water and started Central Valley Culligan, Inc. He quickly realized that customers needed a way to finance his equipment and formed, with other business leaders, Central Valley Finance Inc. In later years, Max added Culligan Bottled Water as the last of his business operations. In 1998, Max retired and sold his business to US Filter Corporation.
Max was married to Betty Hansen, also from Los Banos, from 1949 to 1954. During this time, Max’s oldest daughter, Cheryl Ann, was born. In 1957 Max married Marlene Henderson and they were married 67 years, adding Tara, Carrie, Leiann, Dana and Mark to the family
He was an avid horseman and spent time at the Hansen Ranch during cattle drives and brandings, later teaching all six of his children the joy of horseback riding and being outdoors. With the girls, he attended all training lessons and horse shows for years. With Mark he went to rodeos and ropings and loved every minute. Max also loved motorcycles, buying his first one the day his son Mark was born. Mark went on to ride motocross during his teenage years with Max again right by his side.
Max moved his family from Los Banos to Clovis, Calif. in 1971. Max was a true family man, with six children, 16 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren (with one on the way). He made sure he was at each of his children’s events, whether it was horse shows, football games, motocross races, 4H or theater productions. He was known for being a man who loved to laugh, who taught his children to make memories and to find the positive and love in every situation.
He loved to tease and play pranks on those he loved. He is known within his family as being the one to start food fights at Thanksgiving dinner, allowing his grandchildren to “sneak” up on him to put a cream pie in his face, and bringing a horse in the house during holidays or special events. He did all of this just for the fun of it and to make sure everyone was laughing.
In his personal and professional life Max was known for being a good man, a man of his word, a man whose handshake meant something. A quote he lived by was “It is the laughter we will remember.”
Max is survived by his wife Marlene as well as his six children, Cheryl, Tara, Carrie, Leiann, Dana and Mark along with their children and grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his brother David.
Services will be held on May 1, 2023 at the National Cemetery in Santa Nella, Ca. In lieu of flowers the family is asking that donations be made out to the Central California Veterans Home Foundation (CCVHF), 2811 West California Ave., Fresno, CA 93706. This foundation was created for the sole purpose to support the Fresno Veterans Home.