Brother Max leaves legacy of love and compassion

max copeland

Max Copeland, better known as ‘Brother Max,’ touched the lives of thousands of people over the years. Brother Max passed away at 5:30 a.m. May 25. He was known for his dedication to area youth and probably attended more sporting events since arriving in Marble Falls in 1958 than anyone else. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton

DANIEL CLIFTON AND CONNIE SWINNEY • PICAYUNE STAFF

MARBLE FALLS — If there was one thing the Rev. Max Copeland taught in the manner he lived his life it was this: Love all with no conditions. Copeland, who was simply known as Brother Max, exemplified loving others as Christ showed us how.

And it didn’t matter if you ever sat in his church or even went to church; Brother Max just loved you.

“He genuinely cared about people,” said his son, Dan Copeland.

On May 25, Brother Max passed away in his sleep. He was 85.

“It’s going to take Marble Falls a good little while to get past the passing of Brother Max,” said his longtime friend Martin McLean. The two struck up a bond in 1954 in northwest Burnet County when Brother Max served at the Baptist church in Briggs and McLean lived in Oakalla. And for those who knew Brother Max, the place to two met was a fitting part of his story — a ball game.

In 1958, Brother Max and his wife, Glenna, picked up and moved to Marble Falls, where he became the pastor at First Baptist Church. It would become the place the couple called home for almost 60 years.

“He loved this community, he loved the people and he loved the children,” McLean said.

Copeland quickly became a fixture at Marble Falls sporting events. Over the years, he probably attended thousands of games and youth events from T-ball to varsity athletics. While he loved sports, Brother Max wasn’t there just for the game.

“Brother Max loved the kids, and he would attend as many games and events as he could for the children,” McLean added.

Brother Max enjoyed the competition, no doubt, and he let more than one referee or umpire know his opinion of a particular call on an occasion or two. But after every game, the man in the red suspenders made it a point to shake as many of the kids’ hands as possible, telling each they played a great game and, if possible, noting something about his or her performance.

But probably what drove Brother Max was his faith in God. He came to hear God’s call at 16 and began holding youth revivals. While a student at Baylor University, Brother Max would drive to Haskell on weekends to preach before getting called to the Baptist church in Briggs.

Brother Max quickly got to know everybody in Briggs. He would remember most of them throughout his life, recalling their names and family.

“Preaching the good news, that was his duty,” Dan Copeland said. “He loved (everybody) and wanted them to come to Christ. It was evident that God was working through him. His deep and profound faith spurred him on that he was doing the right thing.”

Though he preached at the Baptist church — in Briggs and then Marble Falls — Brother Max didn’t see the world by denominations. He only saw God’s people.

“He felt the community was his family,” Dan Copeland said. “When somebody in the community hurt, he hurt. He was a Baptist preacher, but he reached across the lines of denomination.”

Even after stepping down as the pastor at First Baptist Church of Marble Falls several years ago, Brother Max kept serving and teaching both at the church and in the community.

During the spring and fall, folks could often find Brother Max greeting people at Sweet Berry Farm just outside of Marble Falls. His son Dan and Dan’s wife, Gretchen, owned and operated the strawberry and pumpkin patch. As people came up, Brother Max greeted them with a smile and often pointed them in the areas for the best berry-picking prospects during the spring.

People would often comment to Brother Max that they remembered him coming to one of their ballgames in their youth or that he even baptized them.

Brother Max enjoyed visiting with people. After a quick talk with Brother Max, it didn’t matter if a person picked a bucket of strawberries or found “just-the-right” pumpkin or not, because he or she felt something else, something more long-lasting. They felt Brother Max’s love.

“He just has a way of connecting with people,” McLean said. “It didn’t matter who you were, Brother Max, he just cared about you. He was always thinking about other people.”

Even after a vehicle struck him in the Marble Falls High School parking lot in 2011 as he was walking along, Brother Max expressed his concern for the driver, more than of himself.

“He really did care for people,” Dan Copeland said. “When God said, ‘Love your neighbor,’ that’s what he did.”

Over the years, the community honored the man in several ways. The Marble Falls Independent School District named the high school gymnasium after him. The district also allotted a red stadium seat in both the gym and the new Mustang Stadium for Brother Max. Along with his love for others, he was known for his red suspenders and red socks (it got to the point he even had to special order some red socks.) In 2013, First Baptist Church of Marble Falls recognized him and Glenna for their more than 50 years of ministry.

McLean struggled through his emotions to talk about his longtime friend.

“I guess he was just the most legendary figure in all of Marble Falls. He never hurt anyone, and he never said a negative thing about anyone,” McLean said. “Marble Falls will never be the same place again.”

Services for Brother Max are planned for 2 p.m. May 29 at First Baptist Church, 501 12th St. in Marble Falls.

daniel@thepicayune.com

4 thoughts on “Brother Max leaves legacy of love and compassion

  1. Judge McLean is right, “he never said a negative thing about anyone” but also, you never heard anyone say anything negative about Brother Max. I am glad I was blessed to know him for over 33 years. God bless his family and thank you for sharing him with us.

  2. I am sad at Brother Max’s passing but rejoicing that he is with the Lord He loved so much and wanted others to find joy in Jesus just as he did. He baptized all four of my daughters. He has always been there for our family in both the good times and bad. He was always encouraging and spoke the truth in love. Only God know how many lives he has touched and how better we all are who knew him.

  3. To say that You Knew Brother Max is Not Enough if You Ever Met Him. He Gave at least a Word of Encouragement and So Very Often Much More. It could be a Hug, a Meal, Time Telling Stories or a Bucket of Strawberries from His Son’s Farm.

    He Was and Remains a Huge Part of My Life. I knew Him from 1975 until 2015. Brother Max was to Me, the Grandfather I Always Wanted and the Listener I Always Needed when I Needed Him to Be.
    My Relationship to He and Mrs Copeland was a Lifelong Bond that I Shall Forever Cherish. I tried to visit Him Every time I went Home to Marble Falls because You could Never Spend enough time with this Man. I ate Several Meals with Him and even lived with the Copelands Home for a while during My High School years.

    He told Me that He was Ready to Meet Jesus and for Me Not to Cry when it was His Time to Go. The Tears that fail from My cheeks are for the sadness that I cannot See Him again Right Now. I have Comfort in Knowing that I Will See Him Again in Heaven.

    I Loved You More than Words Could Ever Say Brother Max. I Hope You Always Knew That. I Miss Our Talks and Our Hugs.

    Thank You for Baptizing Me and My Family and for Always Encouraging Me to Do My Best in Every Challenge that came My Way. Thank You for Your Letters while I was serving in the Army and the Marine Corps as they Made Me Feel close to Home even when I was Thousands of Miles Away. Most of All, Thank You for Your Prayers and Your Belief in Me. You are Well Missed My Friend.

    Until We Meet Again, I Salute You for Your Unconditional Service to Your Family, to Marble Falls and to Everyone You Ever Met. I Love You Brother Max.

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