"We ought to just do it"
-- 1935 ~ 2011 --
Grow Pitcher, born April 22, 1935 in Calgary, AB, Canada,
to Mary Favorite Grow and Morgan Hinman Pitcher; peacefully
passed away at his Alpine home with his family Wednesday,
February 16, 2011 due to complications of a stroke.
Max was born with an immense love of the
outdoors. From his youth in Calgary and Edmonton where he
was an avid skier and swimmer, to his last months when he
enjoyed the outdoors from the comfort of his breezeway in
Alpine, listening to Fort Creek, it was clear that the open
air is where he felt most at home.
From 1954-56, Max served as a missionary
in the Australia Mission for the LDS Church, making many
fond memories and dear life-long friends.
His love for the earth was the force behind
his chosen career in geology. He received a BS and MS in
Geology from Brigham Young University. It was there that
he met and fell in love with the beautiful Diana Nutter.
They were married on February 12, 1960. Later that year,
when Max returned from several months of field work in the
Canadian Yukon, Diana didn't recognize him with his full
beard and looking like a character out of a Jack London
novel. Max continued his studies at Columbia University
in New York, receiving a PhD in Paleontology in 1963.
Max then began what would be 30-year career
with Continental Oil Company (Conoco), taking the family
first to Ponca City (OK), then Houston, Denver, and back
While at Conoco, Max quickly rose up the
corporate ranks, with his intense commitment to hard work,
scientific rigor, deep relationships and complete integrity.
After serving as a field geologist, he took posts ranging
from regional head to the highest levels of executive management.
Max ended his career directing oil and gas exploration in
countries like the Congo and Gabon in Africa, England, Scotland,
Indonesia and the former Soviet Union. He fell in love with
the remarkable culture and transformation of Russia, and
eventually developed the Polar Lights gas field, the first
Western venture in Russia in over 75 years. Max and Diana
often traveled together, cementing life-long friendships
around the world.
In 1993, he and Diana retired to Alpine,
Utah. They loved gatherings of family and friends, so Max
made a lovely park at their home for summer barbecues, wedding
receptions, fathers and sons outings, and any other excuse
they could think of for getting people together.
In ’96 and ’97, Max and Diana
traveled by covered wagon from Nauvoo to the Salt Lake Valley,
as part of the re-enactment of the pioneer trek of 150 years
earlier. This was a highlight of Max’s life; he was
instrumental in organizing the trek and in creating its
authentic camps. As they traveled across the plains, he
would explain the geology, and Diana would paint the beautiful
scenes. Many a weary fellow traveler would find refreshment
in the bottomless donut barrel on the side of his wagon.
The following year he organized a continuation of this trek
from Salt Lake City to Cardston, Canada, to commemorate
its settlement by his ancestors. It is surely a great reunion
he is having with them now.
Max cherished his beloved Bar DM ranch
in Grand Lake, Colorado. For over 40 years, he and his family
have gathered there for Christmas and summer "vacations"
(bring your work gloves). Max was happiest there on a tractor
or snowmobile before dawn. Perhaps his greatest satisfaction
came when the third generation, his grandchildren, came
to know and enjoy "the Place" as much as he and
his children had over the years.
Max was a treasured patriarch of our family.
Dinner was often preceded by a little "preachin’"
in which he would offer timely counsel or advice. He was
a gospel scholar, and loved his study groups over the years.
He served in many callings in the church; his favorite was
His parents and one brother, Kay Pitcher,
preceded him in death. Another brother, Grant Pitcher, survives
him. He is also survived by his wife Diana and his children
Stephen (Mindy), Alpine; Shauna (Roger) Andersen, Alpine;
Tom (Karine), Park City; Andi (Mark) Davis, Orem; Marcia
(Kenton) Wride, Denver; 21 grandchildren; 2 great-grandchildren;
all of whom will forever benefit from the indelible mark
he left on this world.
Funeral services for Max will be held
Tuesday, February 22, 2011 at 11:00 a.m. in the Alpine North
LDS Stake Center Chapel located at 1125 East Alpine Boulevard,
Alpine, Utah. Family and friends may call on Monday evening
from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Warenski Funeral Home, 1776
North 900 East, American Fork, Utah and at an additional
viewing at the church on Tuesday morning from 9:30 to 10:30
a.m. prior to services. Interment will be at the East Lawn
Memorial Hills Cemetery in Provo, Utah.