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On November 29, Max Erick Croes, a beloved husband and father, passed away at age 91.
Max was born May 1931 in Padang, Sumatra in the former Netherlands East Indies to Dutch-Indonesian parents, Louis Otto Croes and Dorothea Henning-Croes. Max and this family lived on an estate with a large house built by their father, Lou, with servants for cooking, cleaning, and yard work. In 1942 with the outbreak of World War II the Japanese confiscated their home with all its possessions. Max’s father, Lou, was imprisoned by the Japanese the last year of the war for smuggling guns for the resistance.
The end of the war in 1945 marked the beginning of the Indonesian freedom fighting from the Dutch colonial rule. The Japanese were asked to maintain order after the war, but they encouraged anti-Dutch sentiment and many Dutch and people of European decent were imprisoned or killed.
Max’s family escaped the violence to Australia where they were refugees for 7 months. Lou told Max that the best place in the world to immigrate to is the United States because of the freedom and opportunity there. This would inspire him in later years. In Sept 1946, the family immigrated to the Netherlands. Max caught up with his studies and graduated high school in 1951. He attended Technical College in Delft studying Chemical Engineering and joined the rowing club where he enjoyed the competitive crewing sport.
In 1952 he was drafted for selective service and was trained to be an infantry radio man. In 1954, while still serving in the Dutch army, his father Lou passed away tragically from a heart attack at the age of 48 while on a business trip with his engineering firm.
While Max was still an engineering student, he met the love of this life, Mary Schilder, at a city sponsored street dance in Scheveningen 1955. By the third date, Max told Mary of his dream to immigrate to America. She was also excited about this idea as Holland was overcrowded and was going through a post war recession. The downside was that they would have to leave all their friends and family behind. They wed in 1955 and had two boys while living in a tiny apartment in an attic. Max graduated in 1957 with a Mechanical Engineering degree and applied for immigration to the United States. In 1958 they found a Dutch sponsor in that helped with their immigration to Cincinnati Ohio. Max and Mary found new Dutch friends in the United States that helped them find a new place to live and adjust to their new life.
Max easily found work in Ohio, working as an engineer with the Baldwin Piano company designing their assembly line. He then worked at the Cincinnati Milling Machine Company where he eventually became involved with software development for CNC computerized numerical control machine tools. This new computer technology interested him, but he found that the best job opportunities in this field went to US citizens. After 5 years as a green card holder, he applied for citizenship. In 1964 it was a proud moment when Max and Mary with the two boys, Bart and Otto Paul, became naturalized US citizens. Frank born in 1962 was already a US citizen by birth.
Max applied for a position with TRW Defense & Space Systems Group based in Redondo Beach and was hired April 1967 as an MTS (Member Technical Staff). The family moved to St Louis, Missouri for a one-year assignment where Max had to represent TRW with a joint project with McDonnell Douglas on software development of CADAM (Computer Augmented Design and Manufacturing) to be run on IBM mainframes.
In 1968 the family moved to California and bought their first house in Carson that Max and Mary lived in for the next 54 years. They enjoyed sailing and joined the Alamitos Bay Yacht Club where they raced sabots and a Lido 14. Max and Mary would also take camping trips in their 1982 Volkswagen Vanagon, sometimes bringing their grandchildren.
Max retired from TRW in 1992 and had many hobbies including golf, swimming, and genealogical research. He and Mary traveled the world including Europe, Mexico, and took many cruises visiting Alaska, Panama Canal, the Caribbean, Tahiti, Finland, Sweden and Canada. Both also enjoyed attending jazz concerts and made many friends traveling with groups to different music venues.
Max is survived by his wife Mary, sons Bart, Paul (Pam), and Frank (Kim). Four grandchildren Ericka (John), Christina, Amanda (Derek), and Bradley, and four great-grandchildren. Max and Mary were together for over sixty-six years. Max lived a blessed, happy, and full life.
Celebration of Max’s Life will take place on Saturday January 7, 2023, at 11:00 a.m. at Christ Lutheran Church, 6500 E Stearns St, Long Beach, CA 90815. (562) 598-2433, firstname.lastname@example.org
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