Max Gene Falkenstien, the voice of the Jayhawks for 60 years, died on July 29, 2019 at age 95. Max was born in Lawrence, Kansas on April 10, 1924, to Earl and Edith Gosper Falkenstien. He graduated from Liberty Memorial High School and after a year at the University of Kansas, where he was a member of Beta Theta Pi Fraternity, he entered the United States Air Force/Army Signal Corps. After the war, he returned to Kansas University and received a degree in mathematics. On March 20, 1949, he married Isobel Atwood at the Danforth Chapel on the KU campus.
Max began his broadcasting career while in high school at WREN radio and began his sportscasting career there in 1946. In all, between 1946 and 2006, he broadcast over 650 football games and more than 1,750 basketball games. He aired every KU basketball game played in Allen Field House from its opening in 1955 until his retirement and received multiple awards during his tenure; perhaps the most memorable was having his jersey with the Number 60 retired in Allen Field House next to all the great KU athletes who have been so honored.
Max began his professional career as General Manager of WREN radio in Topeka and held that post until the late 1960’s. He then worked for WIBW television in Topeka as a sportscaster and moved back to Lawrence in 1972 where he began a long career in the banking industry, retiring as Senior Vice President of Douglas County Bank in Lawrence. He was instrumental in developing electronic advancements for the bank, served as chair of the national advertising campaign for the American Bankers Association and headed the advertising division of the Kansas Bankers Association.
Max is survived by Isobel, his wife of 70 years, daughter Jane Hart of Topeka, son Kurt (Paula Martin) of Lawrence, sister Sandra Simonett of Prairieville, Louisiana, grandson Joseph Marshall Hart of Tucson, Arizona, grandson Eric Hart (Amaris) of Tucson, granddaughter Kate Falkenstien (Rich Boltizar) of East Palo Alto, California, five great grandchildren, two nieces and a nephew.
The family would like to extend a sincere thanks to his much appreciated friends who transported him three times a week to and from his dialysis treatments for the last two years: Steve Caldwell, JD Cleavinger, Bob Derby, Larry McElwain, Fred DeVictor, Don Green, Larry Hatfield, Carl Locke, Jim Marchiony, Kyle O’Brien, Miles Schnaer, Rick Spano and Mark Wolfson.
A celebration of Max’s life will be held on Saturday, August 24 at 2:00 p.m. at the Lied Center. The public is invited to attend.
In lieu of flowers, Max requested memorial contributions to the Lawrence Humane Society or the Williams Fund at Kansas University. They may be sent in care of the Warren McElwain Mortuary, 120 W. 13th Street, Lawrence, KS 66044.