Grand Lake ranch owner Max Grow Pitcher dies
Max Grow Pitcher, born April 22, 1935, in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, to Mary Favorite Grow and Morgan Hinman Pitcher, peacefully passed away at his Alpine, Utah, home with his family Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2011, due to complications of a stroke.
Max was born with an immense love of the outdoors. From his youth in Calgary and Edmonton where he was an avid skier and swimmer, to his last months when he enjoyed the outdoors from the comfort of his breezeway in Alpine, listening to Fort Creek, it was clear that the open air is where he felt most at home.
From 1954-56, Max served as a missionary in the Australia Mission for the LDS Church, making many fond memories and dear life-long friends.
His love for the earth was the force behind his chosen career in geology. He received a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in geology from Brigham Young University. It was there that he met and fell in love with the beautiful Diana Nutter. They were married on Feb. 12, 1960. Max continued his studies at Columbia University in New York, receiving a doctorate in Paleontology in 1963.
Max then began what would be 30-year career with Continental Oil Company (Conoco), taking the family first to Ponca City, Okla., then Houston, Denver, and back to Houston.
While at Conoco, Max quickly rose up the corporate ranks, with his intense commitment to hard work, scientific rigor, deep relationships and complete integrity. After serving as a field geologist, he took posts ranging from regional head to the highest levels of executive management. Max ended his career directing oil and gas exploration in countries like the Congo and Gabon in Africa, England, Scotland, Indonesia and the former Soviet Union. Max and Diana often traveled together, cementing life-long friendships around the world.
In 1993, he and Diana retired to Alpine, Utah. They loved gatherings of family and friends, so Max made a lovely park at their home for summer barbecues, wedding receptions, fathers and sons outings, and any other excuse they could think of for getting people together.
In ’96 and ’97, Max and Diana traveled by covered wagon from Nauvoo to the Salt Lake Valley, as part of the re-enactment of the pioneer trek of 150 years earlier. This was a highlight of Max’s life; he was instrumental in organizing the trek and in creating its authentic camps. As they traveled across the plains, he would explain the geology, and Diana would paint the beautiful scenes. The following year he organized a continuation of this trek from Salt Lake City to Cardston, Canada, to commemorate its settlement by his ancestors.
Max cherished his beloved Bar DM ranch in Grand Lake. For over 40 years, he and his family have gathered there for Christmas and summer “vacations” (bring your work gloves). Max was happiest there on a tractor or snowmobile before dawn. Perhaps his greatest satisfaction came when the third generation, his grandchildren, came to know and enjoy “the Place” as much as he and his children had over the years. The deep friendships he had in Grand Lake were among the choicest blessings of his life.
His parents and one brother, Kay Pitcher, preceded him in death. Another brother, Grant Pitcher, survives him. He is also survived by his wife Diana and his children Stephen (Mindy), Alpine; Shauna (Roger) Andersen, Alpine; Tom (Karine), Park City; Andi (Mark) Davis, Orem; Marcia (Kenton) Wride, Denver; 21 grandchildren; 2 great-grandchildren; all of whom will forever benefit from the indelible mark he left on this world.
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