Wedding Wednesday: Max and Margaret

Wedding Photo of Maxamillian Doerflinger and Margaret Harney, taken 12 Jun 1934

Max and Margaret (Harney) Doerflinger are my maternal grandparents.  The couple married on 12 June 1934 in Seattle, Washington.  The family then moved to California, where they raised six children.

Max was born 14 March 1908 in Montana to Maxamillian Doerflinger Sr. and Marie Keppler.  His family moved to Seattle, Washington around the start of World War I.  Max and his siblings were constantly bullied during this time for being of German descent.  His mother would chase the bullies down the street with her broom and try to comfort her children.  He dropped out of school after the eighth grade to work and help support his family.

Margaret Harney was born 30 May 1916 in Black Diamond, King County, Washington to William Harney and Ethel Janice Weston.  She was the second of seven children – six girls and one boy.  She attended a Catholic high school in the area.

Max and Margaret met through some mutual friends.  The chemistry was instant.

The couple wed on June 12, 1934 – just weeks after Margaret graduated high school.  The couple then moved to Santa Monica, California, where Max worked as a welder at McDonnell Douglas Aircraft.  The couple had 6 children: Eugene William Doerflinger (1935), Donald and Lawrence Dean Doerflinger (1938), Janice Marie Doerflinger ( 1944), Diane Doerflinger (1957), and they adopted my mom, Sharon Doerflinger in 1959.

Max and Margaret were some amazing people.  They were active in their church, St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church in Santa Monica.  After retirement, Max taught welding at Santa Monica Community College while Margaret volunteered an elementary school that Lawrence, their son, taught at.  Max and Margaret had many lifelong friends.  Neighborhood children called them “Grandma and Grandpa D”.  They welcomed people into their homes and always were willing to give a helping hand.

I only wish that I had been able to meet them.  Margaret passed away in 21 Dec 1988 and Max passed away only a few months after my birth on 1st January 1990.  He had been suffering with Alzheimers for months by the time I was born, but Mom used to say that his eyes lit up in joy when he saw me.  She later told me that she rarely went to see him in the nursing home without me – because when I was there, she could see the smile and look in his eyes that she knew so well.

Max and Margaret Doerflinger

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5 responses to “Wedding Wednesday: Max and Margaret

  1. Elyse,
    It is wonderful to be able to see our ancestors who died before we were born, or when we were very young. My maternal grandfather is the only grandparent I remember. The precious few photos I have of the others help make up for their absence in my life.

    Thanks for sharing your photos and stories!

  2. I’m sorry you didn’t get to meet your grandparents. All but 1, my maternal grandmother had passed away before I was born as well.

    I’ve shared the Ancestors Approved award with you, more info and the image for you is on my blog.

  3. You write beautifully about them. I knew 2 of my grandparents ( mother’s side) met my father’s father only a couple times remember only a little the last time was about 7 years old. sadly never knew my paternal grandmother but have pictures which helps.
    Best of all he saw you before he passed away.

  4. I believe Larry Doerflinger was my 5th grade teacher at Edison elementary school in Santa Monica, but I knew him well for many years at school. I have nothing but wonderful memories of him. He taught me to dance, and to stand up for myself. He has a beautiful strong voice that could rattle the windows in the auditorium/cafeteria at the school. He dressed up one Halloween as the Jolly Green Giant. I would love to contact him. The last time I saw him was in 1974/1975 when I went to Edison elementary to visit while in high school, and he invited to Santa Monica Civic Auditorium where he was in a play. I was unable to go, but he has always been a force in my life and my Hero.

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