Header Image

In Memory of Donald "Max" Harshbarger

Donald Max Harshbarger, age 73, passed away surrounded by family on Sunday, March 15 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Max was born in San Diego, California on November 27, 1946.  Max graduated from Breck School and attended Macalester College – in what turned out to be a trial run at college, finally graduating from the University of Minnesota with a degree in chemical engineering.  

Max will be remembered in the hearts of his wife and best friend, Charlene, his three sisters, Joan (Ric) Edberg, Marsha (Don) Sagmoe, Judy (Nick) Edberg, and his two daughters, Jessica Mayer and Amanda Harshbarger.  He was most proud of his four grandkids: Madeleine, Genevieve, Sebastian, and Maeve, who called him Grandpa Sticks and promise to carry on his tradition of cheating in cards and board games.  Max was also “The Godfather” to Katie, Lexi, and Zoe, the children of Max’s niece, Molly Scherff, and nephew, Ben Sagmoe.  He will also be remembered and missed by many, many good friends. 

Max spent his entire career at 3M in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he started as a chemical engineer.  A 3M lifer, Max finished his career in technical services management and retired in 2002.  Max loved retirement and spent his time pursuing his favorite hobbies: fishing (developing a new “ruler” that remarkably only worked on his fish), woodworking and woodcarving, playing (cheating at) cards, traveling all over the US with Char, gardening, and just spending time with family and friends. Max was proud to have been a “Friend of Bill W.” for over 30 years.  Max never missed the Minnesota State Fair and holds a longstanding family record for largest quantity of foot long hotdogs consumed in a single outing.  Max was an excellent cook and grill master, best known for Grandma Kate’s fried chicken, cheesecake and world class breakfast potatoes.  Max was fun-loving and always up for any adventure, especially if it involved a really long road trip in the car with very few pit stops.

In lieu of a service for Max, his family asks that you remember Max and celebrate his life in your own special way.  He loved to laugh and was a great storyteller.  Max’s family would love to have you share your memories with them on the Tribute Wall tab.

Memorials in celebration of Max’s life preferred to the University of Minnesota, Friends of Cardiology: https://makingagift.umn.edu/give/fund.html?id=1507914763739#0 or the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation https://www.hazeldenbettyford.org/donate


Printer Version

Donald "Max"'s Tribute Wall

Tributes (18):

Please note: if you just submitted a tribute, it is pending approval.
    • Max, you stinker! We never did get to lunch last summer, but I smile remembering catching up a few times over the phone. Yes indeed, I was the admin secretary in Fire protection. My hubby always knew I spent the day working with Max and the great crew. Ufda, Talk about potty mouth. So many great memories like shared above. Thanks for taking me crappie fishing and helping me get thru some tough times. I missed you before, now I really miss you. Hugs to you Char. See you soon. Sandy and Alan

    • We met Max (& Char) when we moved into our house in 2001 – 2 down from them. At the time Max was still working and we didn’t get to know him well until after he retired. Max, you were a GEM. Definitely 1 of a kind. We loved your stories, visits in the alley & friendship! My favorite ornament every year to hang on our Christmas tree will always be the beautiful carved Santa you gifted us – 1 of your many talents. Max, we will never forget how generous both you and Char were to us as well – letting us use your cabin on Big Bass Lake in Minong the summer you were in the process of selling it. Those truly are some of our most favorite memories as a young family & something we could never thank you enough for sharing with us. We loved your fishing stories, old work stories, love for the Great MN Get Together and of course, Dave loved talking to you about all of the home/cabin projects you had your hands in. When we heard the news of your passing we were so incredibly sad. Please know we spoke about you often after we moved in 2013. You are not somebody that is easy to forget. Char, we are sending you our love. Our prayers go out to all who knew and loved Max. Dave, Shannon, Libby, Eleanor & Owen Neels

    • I consider myself very blessed that I have had time on earth with Max and have many great memories . From the day he hired me site unseen over the phone to join his team in Fire Protection, to earning my first patent with him and Mike Dykhoff, to the fantastic Christmas Parties hosted by Max and Char that are a gold standard to this day, to learning how to play Canasata with Char and Vicky while telling stories of fishing, baking, woodworking and solving the worlds problems. Char please feel reach out to us if anything is needed beyond the prayers for Max, yourself and all of your family. God Bless, Robb, Vicky, John, Sophia and Joseph

    • Kind thoughts to Char and all of Max’s family.

      God made Max and then broke the mold. We think of him as a Renaissance man who could do it all—fishing, building stuff, woodworking, volunteering and so much more. His mind was as quick as his snappy comebacks. He loved his daughters and grand kids to the moon! He was a a chef of note, and we enjoyed so many of his tasty dishes. He made ham gravy like no one else could!

      Char, you took “until death do us part” to heart, something others might not be able to with as much devotion as you. You saw Max through all of the hard times, and we know he loved and appreciated you every moment of every day.

      So, see ya later, Max. We’ll stir the gravy next time!

    • So sorry to hear of Max’s passing. Yup, one of the Good guys at 3M where we worked together many years. Always happy go lucky and willing to help when needed. Condolences to Char and family. RIP old friend RIP……bob…

    • I am so saddened to learn of the death of Max. Max was one of those 3M colleagues with whom I had the pleasure of working with on the Fire Barrier business. Max could always be counted on for counsel and collaboration and could express in simple terms his opinions.
      My deepest sympathies to Charlene and the rest of Max’s family. May his memory bring peace and comfort as these difficult days unfold.
      Rest in peace friend.
      Lloyd Sather

    • Max left a lasting imprint on my life and the
      future paths I would travel! I am greatly blessed to
      to have called this kind, compassionate, selfless man
      my dear friend.
      You are already missed by all that had the great honor
      to know you Max!
      Blessings, comfort and strength to Char and family.

      Take comfort in knowing that we will all meet again!

      With love,
      Bud Parker

    • We are so sad to hear of Max’s passing. What good times we had playing cards, eating, and sharing a love of the cabin life of Wisconsin.
      I remember dragging him along to pick up an old boat motor – he was willing to help however possible.
      Max always had a smile and great stories, and yes, with expressive language!
      Char you’re in our thoughts and prayers.
      Janet and Dan

    • Tom and I so enjoyed our times spent with you and Max playing cards at Big Bass Lake in Minong!! Never knew until we read his obit that he cheated at cards!!! Doggone….. learn something new every day!! Our sincere sympathy on this huge loss!! Max was one of the good guys!!! In friendship, Laura and Tom 💔

    • Julie and I want to express to Char and the entire Family how sorry we were to hear of Max’s passing. Max and I started out together in 6th grade at Breck School and remained best friends right up through 2001 when I retired and moved to Florida, with Max retiring shortly thereafter. We stayed in touch by attending reunions together and visited when we were up in Hudson, but it was nowhere near often enough. I grew up with his sisters and was around to watch Jessica and Amanda grow up but missed out on the Grandkids. Char is the best thing that ever happened to Max and I know how much he admired and cared for her. If you can think of anything guys did together, Max and I did it. Unfortunately most of the stories may be a little off color. He was a great friend and Julie and I will miss him very much. Char be sure to stay in touch.
      Bob and Julie

    • I really enjoyed working with Max at 3M. He had a truly unique personality and very “expressive” language, which I will always remember.
      Char and family, you have my deepest sympathy.

    • Max seemed to smiling and joking a lot, healways had something to do like lifting the piano on the porch, between he and char they had a lot of projects going on, he did talk about visiting grand kids, he was very proud of char and her accomplish Kent’s,between Max and char I don’t think anything could stop them from getting their projects done , God bless Max and God bless char

    • I worked with Max at 3M, and always appreciated what a kind person he was. He always had a great sense of humor, and was friendly to all. My condolences to his family (who wrote a great obituary!). RIP, Max.

    • Char, my deepest sympathy to you and the family. It is so sad and hard to believe that Max has passed on. I am so happy that you two found one another – you were clearly made for each other! Please accept a big, virtual hug until we have a chance to get together again. All my love to you and the family.

    • I have many fond memories of working for Max and it was always nice spending time with him after his retirement. It’s been many years since we had spoken but he left a strong, positive impression on me and many others. Sincere condolences to Char and the family. RIP Max

    • Max you were the go to guy when things went wrong at work, we had a lot of fun working together you will be missed and I will never forget you. I will love you and char forever.

    • I loved working with Max on wood projects. We made baptismal boxes for Saint Francis of Assisi Church. Joan and I loved spending time with Max and Char eating and playing cards. They became true friends when I had a mishap several years ago. Going to miss him but have lots of good memories. May you rest in peace Max.

    • Max was one of the good people at 3M. Always a laugh, always helped me if I needed it. I personally have a few fun Max memories that I will always treasure. Hated to hear about Max’s passing, and we send Char a big hug of support and love! ❤️ Tom & Cindy