By Fred Johnson
Executive Vice President and General Manager
Though I try to avoid doing so strictly for personal reasons, it is not uncommon for me to pay tribute in this column to people who’ve made a significant difference in my life. I do this because I feel strongly that the reason for their influence speaks to a much larger community. Such is the case as I offer my thoughts on the passing of a leading citizen of DeKalb County.
March 17, 2015, marked the passing from this life of Max Cash of Mentone. It did not mark the end of his influence. Max was an active and productive citizen. This was evident by his service to his country during WWII; by his devotion to his community as a town council member, mayor and general advocate; by his lifelong support of his church and its ministries; and by countless other ways as well (e.g. his love and conservancy of nature). It would be somewhat easy to lump Max into a larger class of people from “The Greatest Generation” who made similar contributions. After all, Max didn’t consider himself all that special. He would have told you everything he did was something he should have done. He would have also told you he expected the same of you. What made him uncommon to me was that I got to see him up close. Max and his wonderful wife of 67 years, Roberta, had a large family, 7 children to be exact, but anyone who knew them would probably tell you there were few times when their home was occupied only by family. It would be impossible to count the times when Max and Roberta hosted kids at their home. It was truly a gathering place. Make no mistake about it, whether then or now, that only happens when young people FEEL cared for and welcome. Theirs was such a place.
It was in this environment that I most saw in Max the type of person we so desperately need in society today. Max and Roberta have always cared deeply about the things they thought important. They once committed to pray for a matter concerning my wife until such time as the prayer was answered. They did, it was, and we still have their note of promise. In short, people mattered to them. It is obvious their children were paying attention. Each one has in their own way demonstrated evidence of this character passed on.
Unfortunately, Max and Roberta also experienced their share of tragedy when a son died in a car crash. It was an understandably difficult time. Their grief was clearly evident, but if their faith ever waivered, it was not obvious to me. In fact I still remember their testimony, both spoken and unspoken. That’s living your faith in the toughest of times and even more evidence of rock-solid character.
By now you should see clearly that I held Max Cash in high esteem. The way he loved his family, his support of his church and all those in it, his service to town, county and country — all these things spoke of who he was and how he lived his faith and commitment. When men of this obvious character and influence actually take time to care about others, it makes a huge difference. Despite his many responsibilities, there was never a time when I did not feel that this man also genuinely cared about me and my family. That both made and continues to make a difference in my life today. For that I am truly grateful. However, I will repeat something I said earlier. If I could say this to Max today, I have no doubt he would say “thank you” and then tell me clearly that he expected the same thing out of me. Society needs more people like this. May we all learn from his example and from that of those like him. It is our best way of showing gratitude for lives well-lived.