Sutton, Neb., resident Max “Fuzz” Joseph Leininger, 95, returned home to his loving Father on Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, at Mary Lanning Healthcare in Hastings.
A Rosary will be prayed at 7 p.m., Monday, Oct. 26, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Sutton. Mass of Christian Burial will be conducted at 10 a.m., Tuesday, Oct. 27, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Sutton, with Father Michael Zimmer officiating. Services will be live-streamed from www.stmaryssutton.org. Masks will be required at the services. Interment will follow at Calvary Cemetery in Sutton. Visitation will be Monday, from 1-5 p.m., at Sutton Memorial Chapel in Sutton.
Memorial contributions may be directed to the family to be designated later.
Condolences may be left at www.suttonmemorial.com
Max was born on Feb. 14, 1925, to Fred and Etta (Lohmeier) Leininger at the family farm southwest of Sutton where he lived until 1936. Max and his 10 siblings were raised to be hard-working farm kids. Hard work was their play. Horses were an integral part of farm life, but Max never rode in a saddle until he came to Sutton for high school.
In 1944 at the age of 19, even though he had a deferment, Max enlisted in the Merchant Marines to see the world. Dad had great stories about his adventures. One he loved to tell was being in the port in San Francisco watching 15,000 troops march three abreast for 24 hours onto a luxury liner that had been commissioned by the military. Max sailed three times as a Merchant Marine with his last deployment keeping him on the water for a year. It took him to Hawaii, around the northern tip of Australia around Indonesia and Malaysia up to Japan and home by way of Portland. Dad said he was never homesick or seasick. He loved to sleep on the deck where the waves rocked him to sleep.
Max returned to Nebraska to “batch” with his brothers, Gene and Kenny, from 1947-1950. In 1950 Max was drafted into the Army and served in Germany during the Korean Conflict as a truck driver.
In 1951 Max and Regina Sheridan were married with six attendants at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Sutton. They settled on a farm southwest of Sutton where dad continued his lifelong love of farming. Max and Regina loved to “trip the light fantastic” and spent many Saturdays twirling around the dance floor. In the 1970’s Max and Regina formed a duo that traveled the countryside playing for dances. Max sang and Regina played the organ. One of his favorite songs was “Tiny Bubbles.”
Max was known for his toughness and his love of hard work. Coupled with this was his deep Catholic faith. He was a faithful Mass attendee and frequently “hit the box” beforehand. He was unwavering in his love of St. Mary’s where he received all six sacraments. He had a special love of the Blessed Mother and the rosary. Every night at 9:25 he would sing out, Rosary Time, and whoever was there would gather for the rosary.
In his “retirement” art became his passion. No one knew those farmer’s hands would create such beauty from osage orange wood and “treasures” from the farmyard. His artwork was his love language.
Max is survived by his wife of 69 years, Regina and his six children, Terry Leininger of Sutton, Cathy (Gary) Mohnike of Sutton, Cindy (Bruce) Mau of Grand Junction, Colo., Rita (Dave) Nelson of Queen Creek, Ariz., Cecilia (Jim) Van Kirk of Sutton, and Tom (DiAna) Leininger of Aurora; sisters, Alyce Leininger of Sutton, Joan (Duane) Rasby of Sutherland, Neb., Steve (Marcia) Leininger of Sutton, sisters-in-law, Delores (Leo) Leininger of Sutton, and Ann (Kenny) Leininger of Cheyenne, Wyo. He is also survived by 24 grandchildren, 27 great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by an infant daughter, Mary Clare, parents, Fred and Etta Leininger, brothers, Kenny, Leo, Gene and infant brother, Anthony and sisters, Marguerite, Jacqueline and Lynn; in-laws, Ott Rodgers, Dona Leininger and Richard Ochsner.
Eternal rest grant unto him O, Lord, and let the perpetual light shine upon him.