Max Jay Goehner, 72, passed away at his home in Dryden, with his wife Bonnie at his side, on Wednesday, July 8, 2020. Born in Cortland to Cecil and Elmer Goehner, Max spent nearly all of his life in Central New York.
As a youngster, Max loved fishing and hunting with his childhood dog Princess, and making music with friends and family. The 1967 Dryden High School graduate excelled at math and science, and pursued both wrestling and gymnastics, helping teach gymnastics to classmates.
It was in the high school gym that Max and Bonnie first met, while she was playing basketball with friends and he was doing homework on the bleachers. “One day I’m going to marry him”, Bonnie recalls saying to a friend that day. The two ended up chatting, and the next day, Max asked Bonnie for a date: bowling at Cort-Lanes on Valentine’s Day. The rest is history.
The pair enjoyed early dates watching “Hawaii Five-O” on parents’ and grandparents’ TVs, and taught themselves how to play guitar as they sang together. In fact, Max ultimately proposed to his sweetheart Bonnie with a guitar instead of a ring as a token of his love.
Max studied horticulture at SUNY Cobleskill for just a year, spending weekends exploring the area with his gal, visiting attractions like Howe Caverns or a neighborhood pizza joint throughout the academic year, before the U.S. Army sent a draft notice. Max opted to enlist in the U.S. Naval Construction Battalions, better known as the Navy Seabees, since he knew that would let him draw on his skills as a builder.
Max took a three-day leave from the Navy to marry Bonnie on January 12th, 1969, at her grandmother’s house in Cortland, decorated with daisies and yellow roses. He was stationed at Port Hueneme, with Bonnie living with him near the base, and served on Okinawa and Guam, before ultimately being discharged as a Petty Officer 2nd Class.
He worked for the Village of Dryden for over 35 years, operating the Village’s water and wastewater treatment plants, spent time with Bonnie and their children, Brian, Keith, and Heather, and relaxed with gardening, camping, episodes of M*A*S*H and Gunsmoke, and chopping wood for the wood stove. In the meantime, he was known for dropping everything if a friend or neighbor needed a hand.
Max was lucky enough to watch his grandson Max grow into a fine young man, and the two played lacrosse and soccer together. He also got to countless school concerts and sporting events to cheer on his grandson.
The family would like to thank Dryden Ambulance, in particular Kevin Westcott and Joel Cadbury, and neighbors and good friends Rick and Erma Sacchi, for their aid and comfort on that difficult night.
Max leaves behind his beloved Bonnie, their children, Brian and his partner Anjelica Tan, Keith, and Heather and her son Max; his sister-in-law Barb; and dogs Molly, Sophie, and Izzy.
A small family service was held on July 14th at Perkins Funeral Home in Dryden. www.perkinsfh.com
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