Celebrating the Spirit of "Max"

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Thirty-two Phi Delts got together for a reunion in Columbus on April 13, 2013. Organized by Bruce Heine (who sadly passed away in September 2013), the reunion was held in honor of Dick Maxwell '64.



"Max" was an inspirational brother to us all. He suffered a life-changing accident during his college career after breaking his neck during an intramural football game in 1963. Paralyzed from his neck down and confined to a wheelchair as a quadriplegic, Max remained a loyal Phi. He went to all the home football games, attended fraternity parties, dated, and went out with the boys for a few beers.

Since that tragic injury, Max's story has been one of courage and determination as he went through agonizing hours of rehabilitation and gradually worked himself back into university life, ultimately receiving his degree in business administration on June 7, 1969. That graduation ceremony was a special celebration in itself. Not only did Max graduate on the same day that Vice President Spiro Agnew and television personality Bob Hope received their honorary degrees from Ohio State, but Max's Phi Delt brothers pulled out all the stops to get one of Max's closes friends, Dale Barker, home from Vietnam to attend the graduation. Several Ohio State Phis wrote a letter to President Nixon explaining the situation. Army brass replied, indicating that Dale would be discharged early to partake in the festivities.

After graduation, Max founded Creative Living, a non-profit organization encouraging independent living for adults with severe physical disabilities by providing wheelchair accessible housing and assistance and by creating a supportive environment for people to learn, work, live and contribute to the community (www.creative-living.com). He also went on to have a long career at Ohio State, most notably through his instrumental effort to make the campus accessible for all students.

Max entered Chapter Eternal on April 28, 2011, but his legacy lives on at Ohio Zeta. This recent reunion of more than 30 Phis celebrating the memory and spirit of Max is a true testament to us all of the true meaning of brotherhood and the lifelong bonds that bind us all.

Tom Oswald '71 recaps it best. When asked how it felt to reunite with these brothers after so long to celebrate the spirit of such an inspirational Phi, he replied "I think the photo speaks for itself."

This story was compiled from information provided by Tom Oswald '71 and as printed in the November 1969 edition of The Scroll of Phi Delta Theta.