Lewis “Max” Bainter was born on May 13, 1936 in Hutchinson, Kansas. He was the only child of Viola (Lippincott) and Lewis Bainter. He had the luxury of growing up on Grand Lake of the Cherokees in Grove, Oklahoma, where he fished and hunted from the time he was 7 years old. On Friday the 13th, 1949 (his 13th birthday), he and his dog were out fishing and he dropped the boat motor into the lake. After scuba diving to get the motor, reattaching it, and continuing to fish, Max caught himself in the head with a fishing lure. He drove himself (reminder: he is 13 years old) to the doctor to have the lure removed. He came out of the doctor’s office to find the dog had eaten the interior of his dad’s brand new vehicle. He claimed the story ended with him going home to bed…. We believe it only ended after plenty of Pappa and Mamma Bainter reprimands.
He attended Grove High School in Grove, Oklahoma. He went on to quarterback the 1956 NJCAA national championship football team while attending Coffeeville Junior College in Coffeeville, Kansas. Here, he met the love of his life, Jodee Hepner. He went on to play football at Emporia Teacher’s College in Emporia, Kansas where he married Jodee. They had their first child, Becky, in November of 1958, not long after Max began working at the YMCA. The family moved to Keokuk, Iowa, and in April 1960 they were blessed with their second child, Steven. Another YMCA job offer resulted in them moving to Quincy, Illinois where they had their third child, Kirk, in May of 1964.
When a teaching position in Witten, South Dakota arose, he was thrilled to move to a part of the country rich with wildlife and opportunities for fishing and hunting. Winner became their home. Several years later, Max accepted a teaching position in the Winner school district. There, he taught and coached for many years. Rumor has it that during this time Max applied for a teaching position in Alaska. Supposedly, after preparing his application to be mailed, Jodee “lost” the application (i.e., lost it in the nearest garbage can). While disappointed that he never heard back about the job, he maintained his passions for hunting, fishing, and family here in Winner.