Maxwell Freshley Obituary (1929 – 2021) – Richland, WA


Maxwell “Max” D. Freshley
April 17, 1929 – October 4, 2021
Richland, Washington – Max passed away peacefully on October 4, 2021. Max was born on April 17, 1929 to German immigrant parents Emma (Kober) and Christoph (Froeschle) Freshley in Portland, Oregon, where he grew up. He had a long and active life. Max attended Benson Polytechnic High School in Portland and received a physics degree from the University of Portland in June 1951. After graduation, Max joined the Tech Grad program of the General Electric Company at the site of Hanford in Richland and, subsequently, in 1965, Battelle / Pacific Northwest National Laboratory retired in 1993 as Director / Principal Investigator after devoting most of his professional career to research on the development of fuels for light water nuclear reactors. Max’s work involved many overseas trips to Japan, Europe and Russia over the years.
Max met his life partner, Betty L. LaCombe, while attending Multnomah Junior College in Portland and they were married on June 28, 1952. Max and Betty had two children, Mark (Colleen) and Anne (David Little); four grandchildren, Jessica Fabish (Pat), Christie Little, Monica Camp (Michael) and Brian Freshley and three great grandchildren, Emily Fabish, Max Fabish and Reagan Camp. Max was really proud of his children and grandchildren and was dedicated to supporting them in their further education.
At the beginning, Max was active as a scout leader. He was a life member of the American Society for Metals and an active member of the American Nuclear Society which bestowed upon him the honor of Fellow Emeritus for his “outstanding contributions to the advancement of nuclear science and engineering.” .
After his retirement, Max developed a passion for his daily climbs to Badger Mountain “on the steep north side” and completed over 3,200 climbs by the end of his 80s. Max enjoyed many hobbies and activities and was fortunate to have an active life until his late 80s. He loved fly fishing and took many fly fishing trips to Alaska with his friends and family. The annual Deschutes River fishing trips with her son, Mark, and son-in-law, David, were special occasions. Max was a longtime bird hunter and loved his dogs. He also enjoyed tennis, camping and skiing. Memorable family moments were spent over winters and summers at their Anthony Lakes cabin entertaining longtime friends and making new friends. However, after 50 years of tent camping and sleeping on the floor, Max and Betty bought a small motorhome that made “camping” a real luxury and they really enjoyed it.
After their retirement, Max and Betty enjoyed traveling and visited Australia, New Zealand, China, Italy and enjoyed going with friends on several cruises. He also spent a lot of time doing genealogical research on his family history and was fascinated by each new discovery. Max’s nature was to be thorough and precise in every endeavor; sometimes to the frustration of those around him. His innate curiosity and his need to understand the basics led him in many directions.
Max is survived by his wife Betty of 69 years, his two children, Mark and Anne, four grandchildren and three great grandchildren. He was predeceased by his parents, Christoph and Emma Freshley, his brother, Edwin and his sister, Frances. Interment will be held at Sunset Memorial Gardens in Richland during a private family service. Donations in Max’s name can be made to the Tri-City Cancer Center or the Tri-City Union Gospel Mission.
You can express your thoughts and memories in the online guestbook at

Published by Tri-City Herald on October 10, 2021.


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