Serving Southern Jefferson County in the Great State of Montana

Max Lee Amberson, 89

Max Lee Amberson, 89, of Bozeman, passed away on November 6, 2022. Max was the sixth of seven children for Howard and Belle (Carpenter) Amberson. He was born on January 29, 1933.

Max grew up in Gallatin Gateway, MT where he learned to love hunting, fishing, gardening with his mother, and playing basketball. He worked on the Flying D Ranch as a young man and learned what it took to be a true cowboy.

Max attended MSU from 1951 -1955. He played basketball for his beloved Bobcats, majored in Agricultural Education, and met Shirley Boe, whom he married after graduating in 1955. Max and Shirley began their 65-year journey together with Max teaching high school in Whitehall, MT, and coaching the basketball team there.

They welcomed Pam to the family in 1957. From Whitehall, Max took a position with the Peavey Company in Minneapolis. Mark joined the family in 1959. The call of the mountains of Montana brought the Ambersons back to Montana to Helena in 1961 where Max was the state director for the FFA with the Office of Public Instruction.

LeeAnn was born in Helena in 1962. Max pursued his Ph.D. at Ohio State University. The family of five moved to Columbus in a VW Bug in 1964. Following his graduation, Max was hired at MSU as the Department Head of Agriculture Education. Max enjoyed many years overseeing student teachers across the state and teaching at the university. When he retired, he actually failed at something for the first time, so it was back to work when he was asked to return to MSU as the intern Dean of the College of Agriculture. He held that position for 3 years.

During his career, Max always had side projects. He was a cattleman, and an author of textbooks, and built several homes, furniture, and beautiful barbed wire sculptures. He never gave up his love for hunting or fishing and to see his beautifully landscaped property, you knew he loved to get his fingers dirty!

Max was always involved with his kids’ activities, especially ski racing at Bridger Bowl. He and Shirley were part of the group that founded the Bridger Ski Education Foundation. Max skied until he was 85. He bagged his last elk at age 84 with his grandson, Blake Amberson.

There wasn’t a friend in need when Max was around, he pitched in to help anyone he could. He was a true and loyal friend. As a parent and grandparent, his rock-solid love and support are unmatched.

Max is survived by son and daughter-in-law, Mark and Debbie Amberson, their children, Blake and Kailee, and great-granddaughter, Aspen; daughter and son-in-law, LeeAnn and Peter Burke, and their children, Max and Ben; and son-in-law, Jim Okura and his son, Chris. Max was the last of his siblings to survive, but he has many nieces and nephews surviving.

He is preceded in death by his wife, Shirley, and daughter, Pam.

We will celebrate Max’s life on November 18 at 10:00 A.M. at Hope Lutheran Church in Bozeman.

In lieu of flowers, please consider contributing to Hope Lutheran Church, specifically the Memorial Garden, 2152 Graf St, Bozeman, MT 59718, or to the “Dr. Max Amberson Memorial Scholarship” in support of Montana FFA collegiate scholarships, If paying by check, please send to Montana FFA Foundation, 502 S. 19th Ave, Suite 304, Bozeman, MT 59718, Attn: Max Amberson Scholarship. Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service.


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