When Max Harris and his wife Lynn joined Toastmasters 13 years ago, neither they nor their family, could ever have imagined that Toastmasters would play such a huge role in their lives. Not long after joining- they were married by a Toastmaster Celebrant at a special Toastmasters meeting and joined their new ‘Toastmaster family’ – a first for the organisation.
Max will always be remembered as the ‘funny man’ and members often say they miss his humour and happy nature. He refers to Toastmasters as ‘the family he never had’ and treated the members on his 60th Birthday, by providing an extravagant feast. Although his health has prohibited him from being active in a club for the past 12 months, he is still fondly remembered by the many members of District 69, who still inquire after his health at various functions.
A surprise 70th Birthday Party for Max was a very fitting way to mark Max’s love for Toastmasters. Members, visitors from other clubs, friends and past members, roasted and toasted him throughout the evening and shared some memories with the guests. When Max walked in the door, 47 members and friends greeted him with applause, party poppers adding to the din. Max surprised face delighted everyone who participated in his surprise. He spent the rest of the evening looking quite stunned. His wonderful mentor Lila Powell spoke about her fondest memories. Barney Egan, recited a poem written for Max. Sue Downey, Max’s mentee spoke about Max’s guidance and lessons shared. Ken Lee, Max’s Best Man and friend, had waited a long time to get his chance to give Max a good roasting. Thea Smackie whipped Max off for a spin along the ‘nard’ in her convertible. Good friend Kerrie, spoke candidly about the ‘crap’ he spoke, then presented him with a homemade jar of ‘prunes in port’ to help.
Fraser Coast members gave their all to ensure this evening was a huge success. As one toastmaster remarked “I am sure that anyone who has met Max over the years will agree with me when I say – There will never be another Max.” This memorable and special evening was a fitting way to round off Max’s 13 years in Toastmasters.
Lynn Harris, Fraser Coast Toastmasters