80 Over Eighty Honoree – Sen. Max Sherman

Photo by Annie Ray – AnnieRayCreative.com

At 85, Max Ray Sherman has been called a living legend. Born in Viola, Arkansas, he was raised by a strong woman who taught him the value of neighbors helping neighbors. Strong women would be a theme throughout his life.

Max is the proud father of one son and one daughter. He has been married to the love of his life, Gene Alice, for 54 years. They still go out on dates once a week or more. Every day he looks forward to a conversation with his girl. During his interview–recalling his life with his mother, his time in the senate, and his family– Max said:

“All my life I’ve been surrounded and influenced by women.”



During his childhood, Max and his family moved to Texas. And our state has been the better for it. From 1971 to 1977, Max served as Texas State Senator where he met another strong woman, the revered Congresswoman Barbara Jordan, who would become a major influence in his life and a good friend. He was proud to serve alongside Barbara where he witnessed her oratory powers firsthand. Max understood the importance of augmenting her voice to a new generation and so he published a volume of her most powerful speeches.

His most rewarding professional moment came in March of 1972, when as a member of the senate he voted in favor of the Equal Rights Amendment, also ratified by Texas the same year. In 1977, Max completed his congressional career to spend more time with his family. He has since held numerous national and state appointments and is the retired dean of UT’s LBJ school of Public Affairs.  He has received too many honors and leadership roles to name here.  Instead, I’ll sum up his public service by quoting Max himself:

        “I’m a lawyer by trade, politician by practice, and an academic by accident.”

Today, Max is an active member in his church and retirement community. He wants you to know that the secret to a happy life is to keep active. Keep having conversations. Keep adjusting to life – even if that means learning to text. And surrounding yourself with the abiding force of strong women doesn’t hurt either!

Max was nominated by Anne Keene for being the embodiment of public service. Max shaped the lives of a younger generation through his leadership and mentorship. For his strength of character, integrity, and service, Family Eldercare honors Max Sherman.


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Photo by Annie Ray – annieraycreative.com; Instagram – @annieraydotnet