Max Walker was the embodiment of Strength Through Loyalty.
He may not have taken the field like his great idol Darrel Baldock, but just like the No. 4, Max’s commitment to the Saints never wavered across his 75 years as a member.
Max passed away in early December following a short stay in hospital, but it’s through his enduring loyalty that his legacy – and that of the crest – lives on.
Through thick and thin, the third-generation Saint championed the club motto, which began all the way back in 1946 when he first joined the red, white and black.
From Junction Oval to Moorabbin, to Waverley Park and Marvel Stadium. To the highs of the ‘66 Premiership with his brother Russell where he jumped up-and-down for 10 minutes and hugged anyone in sight after the final siren, to the Grand Final heartbreaks of ’09 and ’10.
Max was there every step of the way.
Even through the winless droughts of the 70s and 80s, Max impressed upon his family the importance of standing behind the red, white and black.
You had to take the good with the bad.
The proud St Kilda lineage began with his grandfather in the Saints’ earliest of days, before the tradition of ‘family football’ passed down from Walker to Walker for over a century.
He first went to the footy as a small lad with his father Cyril and grandfather Ernest, before doing the same many years later with children of his own.
Max would take them to see the Saints every week, with kids Neroli and Evan, wife Alison, and Cyril always in tow. Russell would often take his wife Diane and son David.
Alison was more often than not jammed in-between Max and Cyril, and buffeted around as the pair would playfully “run the pack”.
Just like the Doc, Max had heart and was a generous character.
As a teacher, school principal and a co-founder of Cornerstone Contact Centre in Dandenong, he was always giving back – whether it be to students, the homeless or those with mental health issues.
When people were down on their luck, Max was there to raise them up again.
It was a mantra he carried over his 75 years as a member of the Saints.
And although he never saw another ultimate success from his beloved boys, his loyalty was second to none.
To this day, St Kilda blood continues to flow through the Walker family.
His daughter Neroli is President of the Angels, while his grand-niece and grand-nephew, Lily and Josh, support the Saints from Sydney.
Max also achieved the near-impossible after converting Alison from a Cat to a Saint.
The back of Marvel Stadium’s Aisle 36 became their home away from home over the years, with the pair becoming well-recognised faces among the St Kilda faithful.
He was always up for a chat, boasted standout made-to-order bread rolls, and could always be heard thanks to his booming voice, which reverberated around the grandstand.
That was the story all the way up until 2010, before age began to catch up.
Max may no longer be with us, but his impact will live on.
It’s the people of St Kilda that are the backbone of our club.
And it’s through Sainters like Max Walker that we’ll continue to stand tall.
30.4.1936 – 4.12.2019
Fortius Quo Fidelius