Max Joseph Berryessa

May 22, 1923 – Sept. 20, 2018

Max Joseph Berryessa passed away at the age of 95 on Sept. 20, 2018, in St. George, Utah, where he had been living. He was born on May 22, 1923, in Cardston, Alberta, Canada. He was the son of Walter S. and Lillian Duce Berryessa. He married Janet Greaves on Jan. 14, 1944, in San Francisco, California. Their marriage was later solemnized in the Logan Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Jan. 14, 1946, when he returned from World War II.

Max graduated from Ogden High School and served in the U.S. Navy during the war. Following the war, he graduated from Weber College and Brigham Young University. He later received his doctorate in education from Stanford University. He was employed at Brigham Young University cumulatively for 40 years, where he was the chairman of the Elementary Education Department for more than 10 years.

Max received numerous appointments and awards throughout his career until he retired in 1988. By then, he had become internationally renowned as an educator and leader. Throughout his life, as an exceptional educator, he was heavily involved in various professional organizations, serving as the president of the Elementary Section of the Utah Education Association, president of the Utah State Association for Teacher Educators, and president of the Association of Childhood Education International.

He was the recipient of the Brigham Young University Karl G. Maeser Award for Teaching Excellence and in 1986 he was received the Outstanding Teacher Educator Award from the Utah State Association of Teacher Educators.

During leaves from BYU he served as an educational advisor to the Ministry of Education in Iran and then later in Thailand in cooperation with the U.S. Agency for International Aid. Later, he also served for two years as the teacher education adviser to the Asian Regional Office of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization based in Bangkok, Thailand. His expertise led him all over the world as a conference presenter in such places as Malaysia, India, the Philippines, Iran and Bangladesh, as well as throughout the United States.

He was a member of the LDS church and served in many positions of leadership in his ward and communities including: bishoprics, Stake High Councils, serving as a bishop twice and serving as the executive secretary of the LDS Church Correlation Committee for nearly 12 years.  

Max and his wife, Janet, served two missions together where Max was a counselor in the Swiss Temple presidency. They also served other missions as Church Service missionaries and Max served many years as a sealer in the Provo Temple. He also held many positions in his community and served on the board of directors of “LDS Family Fellowship” for many years.

He lived an exemplary life, generously and cheerfully serving his family, friends and anyone he ever met. He has had a profound influence on hundreds of students and educators throughout the world and was greatly beloved as a teacher.

Max was preceded in death by his wife, Janet, in 2016. He is survived by four sons: Richard (Susan) of Las Vegas, Nevada, Scott (Marilyn) of Lehi, Utah, Dean (Trudy) of Santa Clara, Utah and Guy (Trey) of San Francisco, California and many beloved grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Funeral services

  • Graveside services will be held on Saturday, Sept. 29, at 2 p.m., at the Santa Clara City Cemetery.

Arrangements have been entrusted to the care of Metcalf Mortuary, 435-673-4221.

For condolences, full obituary and funeral listings please visit Metcalf Mortuary online.

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