Friday, April 12, 2024


Max Harley, 94

Max Harley of Stratford, a former Westport resident, died Nov. 18 in Norwalk Hospital after a period of illness. He was 94. Image
Max Harley: former Westporter. Contributed photo

In addition to Westport, he also lived in Indianapolis, and Greenville, Ohio.

He was born Aug. 24, 1920 in Hollansburg, Ohio, to Howard R. Harley, MD, and Cleo Mote Harley. After his father’s death, the family moved several times and Max graduated from high school in Fountain City, Ind.

He followed his brother George to Miami University in Ohio, and, upon graduation, into the U.S. Navy during World War II. After training as a gunnery officer he was posted to the Pacific theater.

When he boarded the transport ship in San Diego, it was the first time in his life that he was on a boat.

He was assigned to the USS Nicholas, and later was involved in the commissioning of the USS Cunningham. While on the Nicholas he participated the rescue of the survivors of the USS Helena, for which the Nicholas and its crew received a Presidential Unit Citation.

He was involved in the liberation of Shanghai. The Nicholas remains the most highly decorated destroyer in the history of the U.S. Navy.

Upon returning home in 1946, he entered Ohio State University and obtained a law degree. During this time he met Ruth Ann Wolfe, of Bexley Ohio, and married her in October 1950.

This necessitated a Friday wedding, as residents of Columbus, Ohio don’t attend Saturday weddings during football season.

He established a law practice in Greenville Ohio, with Howard Brumbaugh. During this time his three sons were born. He was also a Scoutmaster, street commissioner and water commissioner during this time.

He further participated in local politics, running for mayor of Greenville.

In 1961, the family moved to Indianapolis, where he directed the law publications department for Bobbs Merrill Publishing. In 1969 the family moved to Westport, where they lived for 28 years.

He was the managing editor of Matthew Bender Publications and later editor-in-chief of the Practicing Law Institute, both of New York City.

He instilled in his family a love of music, sports, learning, correct grammar and a love of equal rights for all humanity. He was modest, self-effacing and could be very funny.

He played golf into his 80s and scored at least two holes in one after the age of 60.

His parents, brother George, sister Maxine, and his wife Ruth predeceased him. He is survived by his sons John, of Dumont, N.J., Bill of Seekonk, Mass., and Chris, of Shelton, and his grandchildren Noah, Dylan and Colette.

There will be a private celebration at a later date.

Donations in his memory may be made to the United Negro College Fund or Doctors Without Borders.

One thought on “Max Harley, 94

  1. As good as they get. Brilliance, Depth, Wit… a Cunning Golfer with the Dearest Fondness for his fellow traveler, Ruth. Rest in Peace, my friends.

    Timothy F. Weiss, Sr.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *