Max Krey: A lifetime of service to the community


Name: Max Krey

Age: 95

Years in western Colorado: 63

Max Krey is humble when talking about the many large charitable donations he’s given to back a wide-variety of community projects across the Grand Valley in the past 60 years.

He simply refers to the contributions as “support.” Don’t ask him about numbers. He won’t give them to you.

Whatever the exact amount, suffice to say there are a lot of zeroes behind the number.

“He’s probably not one of the most famous people, but he’s done just as much as anybody for this community,” Colorado Mesa University President Tim Foster said.

There’s just one reason, Krey said, that he continues to spearhead so many improvement plans.

“It has been a wonderful place to live,” he said.

Krey remembers some of the first basketball games he attended at Mesa College when he was still a newcomer to western Colorado in the early 1950s.

The games were played in a small gymnasium in Houston Hall. It was an enjoyable way to spend the evening and get to know some of the people in his new community.

Sometimes, Krey attended the games with his friend, Bud Brownson, the namesake of Brownson Arena, which was built in 1968. It was one of the first notable expansion projects Krey can remember taking place at the college.

He has been supporting athletic programs and campus initiatives at what’s now CMU for decades.

Foster, who has known Krey since he was a child, said Krey has been one of the university’s most generous donors.

Most recently, he contributed to the school’s marching band, the Maverick Stampede, through the purchase of new uniforms and gave a six-figure pledge toward the renovation of Tomlinson Library and Rotary Hall, Foster said.

“He never says no to us,” Foster said. “But also, he is just one of the most wonderful people I’ve ever known.”

Krey and his wife, Helen, moved to Grand Junction from Denver in 1953. He was a geologist working for Sinclair Oil during the uranium boom. He, along with a business partner, opened Krey Schuh Consulting in 1954.

The uranium boom ended around 1958, he said, and thus began the boom-and-bust cycle of oil and natural gas. As a consultant, he mapped areas that held potential for drilling.

“To be drilling and have it become a big producer is a great thrill,” he said.

At the same time, Krey said he decided early in life that he wasn’t going to be an energy boom-chaser. He liked living in western Colorado because of its unique geology and abundant recreational opportunities.

“The next thing was we had two children and then this place was home,” he said.

Helen was a nurse and college professor. They raised two children, Mark and Marina.

Krey said his family members loved living in western Colorado and they never considered moving out of the Grand Valley.

Throughout his career, Krey served on a variety of boards and commissions. He was one of the original five members of the state land-use commission that was formed in the 1970s.

He also served for five years on the Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, was former president of the Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce, and was president of the Mesa College Scholarship and Development Fund committee.

Krey joined the Rotary Club of Grand Junction in 1970. He has since been directly involved in numerous fundraising events and served as a past president of the club.

He recruited many of the club’s current members who are grateful for Krey’s mentorship.

Vicki Canaday said Krey asked her to be his guest at a Rotary luncheon 23 years ago.

He told her, “If you really want to make a difference in your community, join Rotary.” Canaday hasn’t missed a single meeting since.

“He’s probably the most giving person I’ve ever met. Giving of himself, his time, his funds to help people in any way he can,” she said.

He encompasses all that Rotary is and he is constantly thinking of ideas to improve the club and instill the beauty of Rotary in others, she said.

James Rybak, who Krey recruited into the club in 2005, said establishing Rotary Hall on the CMU campus was one of Krey’s largest accomplishments for the club. Located at 12th Street and Elm Avenue, Rotary Hall is used to help international students become campus-oriented and successful in college.

Krey said helping to further education for young people was one of the reasons he joined Rotary in the first place.

“We need to educate people to the point that they can take care of themselves,” he said.

Rybak said that nearly every worthwhile project in Grand Junction has Max’s fingerprints on it. 

“One thing about Max is that he’s humble. I’ve heard him say many times when he organizes or helps support a project that he’s interested in doing it for the good, not for getting publicity,” Rybak said.

Indeed, Krey says the motivation behind his continued work in the community is simple: “I’ve tried to give back to this community because this community has been so good to us.”

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