Max Decker, 90

Max Decker, 90

Max Decker, 90, of Ava, died April 13, 2020, at his home with his loving family by his side. Due to the current health risks of the COVID-19 virus associated with large gatherings, a come-and-go time to pay honor Dr. Decker was held April 16 at Clinkingbeard Funeral Home in Ava. A public memorial service will be held at a later date.

He was born Oct. 12, 1929 in Tecumseh, the son of Everett Cecil and Gladys Martin Decker. He was a graduate of Bakersfield High School. On Dec. 27, 1954, in Ava, he married Mona Gaulding.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Arkansas State University in Jonesboro; a master’s degree and an educational specialist’s degree from Peabody College of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee; and a doctor of education degree from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.      

Dr. Decker spent almost 50 years working as a teacher and administrator in Missouri public schools. He began his teaching career in a one-room school when he was just out of high school. He taught English for two years at Gainesville High School and three years at Ava High School; later, he served as Ava High School principal for 27 years and taught for Drury University for 10 years.

He was a Christian and a member of the Ava General Baptist Church. He was also a member of Ava Masonic Lodge, Scottish Rite, Order of the Eastern Star and Phi Delta Kappa. He was a past president of the Southwest Missouri Secondary School Principals Association, a past member of the Missouri State Association of Secondary Schools Principals Board of Directors, a past president of Ava Lions Club, and other community affiliations.

He and his wife enjoyed working on his farm and going to music gatherings at McClurg, Jackson’s Jamboree, Oldfield Opry and the local veterans center. 

He is survived by his wife, Mona; his daughter, Becky Decker; two sisters-in-law, Leta Rose and Ellen Dye; nephews, nieces, other relatives and many friends. 

He was preceded in death by his parents; his in-laws, Claude and Amy Gaulding; and two sisters-in-law, Lena Wallace and Mary Owens. 

A private family graveside service was held in the Ava Cemetery with the Rev. Oren Alcorn and Pastor Tim Reese officiating. Memorial contributions may be made to the donor’s choice of charity. Online condolences may be expressed at

 Clinkingbeard Funeral Home, Ava, directors.

Ozark County Times

504 Third Steet
PO Box 188
Gainesville, MO 65655

Phone: (417) 679-4641
Fax: (417) 679-3423