The sports world and the city of Houston have a huge void in it, as one of its longtime and well-respected sports journalists has passed away.
Gifford Louis Edison Jr., affectionately known as “Max” to everyone who knew him or followed his work as a journalist, died this past Friday, June 21st, at the age of 63. Ironically, Max passed away on the day he celebrated his birthday – June 21, 1956.
Max was not just known for his knowledge of sports, it was his bold persona and sharp tongue that most people identified him for more than anything.
The night before his passing, Max once again served as the emcee for the annual Missouri City Juneteenth Celebration Foundation’s Community Service Awards Gala. In this role as emcee, which he performed every year, he would be known for roasting attendees, speakers and even the coordinators of the event, in a sharp-witted, yet funny way.
“I know some of y’all think you’re important,” Max said to the attendees who had not returned to their seats yet during the dinner at the gala. “Well, I’m here to tell you that you aren’t that important, so I’m gonna need you to return to your seats so we can continue with this program and get outta here on time.”
This was one of the many examples of what people loved about and expected from Max Edison.
“I am deeply saddened by the passing of my friend Max Edison,” said Missouri City Juneteenth Celebration Foundation Founder and former Missouri City Council Member Don Smith. “For over thirty years, I have come to respect his work and value our relationship.”
Max always loved sports and was known for covering top athletes in all sports in the Greater Houston area and for delivering his unadulterated and straight forward take on every issue worth discussing, whether it was sports or politics or current events. Max went on to become the sports editor at the Houston Defender and became a staple guest on sports radio talk shows and television stations across the Greater Houston area. He produced stellar articles and a podcast that covered sports, while injecting his personal takes and bold opinions on various subjects.
Houston Defender Publisher and CEO Sonny Messiah-Jiles shared her thoughts about her longtime sports editor in a touching op-Ed, reminding readers that Max was respected among sports journalists in Houston and beyond, and that he was recognized one year by the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) as the best in sports journalism among the Black Press of America.
“Gifford ‘Max’ Louis Edison Jr. was a man of character and of many talents. Some would even call him a character. He shared his love in various ways. For almost three decades I watched Max work, play and enjoy life to the ‘Max,’” said Messiah-Jiles. “Max did an outstanding job keeping the Defender audience updated on college and professional sports at the highest level. He represented us well and he will be truly missed.”
Friend and former sports radio co-host Kim Davis talked about her relationship with Max, as she shared the news of his passing on social media.
“Max was so much more than a friend and colleague, he was my brother,” said Davis on Facebook. “In the early to mid-90’s we hosted “Sports Timeout,” a daily live 2-hour sports talk show together. Some called us the original his and hers. He was a true friend and supporter and always tried to help aspiring journalists. Our friendship extended far beyond sports to family, opportunities, politics and just plain old life. He really enjoyed being the Sports Editor of the Houston Defender, and he truly loved his family. His wife, kids and grandson meant the world to him. His entire family especially his mom, who he checked on daily, were also at the top of his list….His work telling some of the stories that would otherwise go untold will be missed.”
Legendary sports journalist and radio host Ralph Cooper shared his thoughts with the Forward Times about the passing of Max Edison.
“Max Edison would have intimidated many people because of his perceived arrogance and the way he talked to people, but once you got to know him, he could teach you so much,” said Cooper. “Sure he loved sports and he thought he was better than most sports broadcasters, but I learned he cared so much about FAMILY. He loved his FAMILY. His Father was his hero. His Mother was another. At one-time, I was so into sports reporting that family was on the back burner. Unknowingly to him, watching him work a regular job and do sports broadcasting, he mentored me. I will miss him asking in his bass voice – How’s the Family?”
In addition to being a sports journalist, Max had worked in the telecommunications marketing industry and in education, which allowed him to fulfill his passion of mentoring the youth.
Max grew up in Sweeny, Texas, where he played football at Sweeny High School, and then went on to graduate from Sam Houston State University. He was a faithful member of Windsor Village United Methodist Church, where he served as part of the Worshiping Warriors (Male Chorus) and made church announcements on KBC-TV.
Max resided in Missouri City with his wife, Judeene. The couple got married in 1985 and to that union, the couple had three children – Natalie, Jayson, and Nicole.
The Forward Times will share the details of the funeral arrangements once they are finalized.