Max Lee Kiehne of Los Lunas passed away on Saturday, January 29, 2022, surrounded by loved ones after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease. Max was born in Fort Collins, Colorado on October 26, 1945, to Emil O. and Beverly Kiehne. Soon after, the family moved to Reserve, NM, her father’s hometown. Max grew up with his Arkie brothers, Jim and Gary, working in several family businesses and learning the value of hard work on their cattle ranches.
In 1963, Max graduated valedictorian from Reserve High School where he excelled in everything from sports to 4-H to FFA. He held various positions with the Future Farmers of America and served as Secretary of State, then was elected State President the year after he graduated from high school. That year he toured the entire state of New Mexico and visited every chapter of the FFA. At the national convention later that year, Max received the FFA’s highest national honor, the American Farmer’s Diploma.
Max entered Harvard College in Cambridge, Mass., in the fall of 1964. There he made many lifelong friends and was active in Harvard student agencies. HSA is a non-profit organization that enables students to run businesses while pursuing their studies at Harvard. With his entrepreneurial spirit and his ideas, Max quickly became the manager of several businesses on campus.
After graduating Cum Laude in 1968, Max married Silver City’s former Cherie Reynolds in 1969, and they moved to Albuquerque to start their life together. Max enlisted in the NM Air National Guard and was promoted to Second Lieutenant in the Intelligence Division, where he served for 6 years while beginning his real estate career in Albuquerque with DW Falls Corp. in 1974, Max tried his hand at politics and ran (unsuccessfully) for Albuquerque City Council.
Life with Max was very exciting and unpredictable as he was always full of new business ideas. He began his career on the west side of Albuquerque and was instrumental in the development of many residential and commercial projects in Albuquerque such as Volcano Cliffs, The Knolls of Paradise Hills, the Covey, Laurelwood and Bedrock. Max sold the Bond Ranch west of the volcanoes to the city of Albuquerque, which became the airport for West Mesa. He also sold 711 acres to Bellamah Corp., which later became known as Taylor Ranch. At one point, Max managed 22 limited partnerships and businesses
For many years Max served as president of the Harvard Club of New Mexico. He enjoyed traveling the state encouraging students to apply for admission and interviewing those who did.
Even with his east coast upbringing, Max always remained a cowboy at heart and could flank and tag calves with the best of them! He loved growing up on a ranch on the reservation and soon began selling ranches as well. Max enjoyed showing ranches and quickly gained a reputation as one of the best and most knowledgeable ranch brokers in the state. It took four years, but when Max finally sold Red Lake Ranch to the Acoma Indian Tribe, he counted it as one of his proudest moments.
In 1976, Max and Cherie moved with their family to Bosque Farms, New Mexico, so their children could have a childhood similar to hers. He made sure they learned to raise animals and do chores like him. Over the years the Kiehne house was the place to be as they had sheep, calves, horses and even cows which the children milked twice a day!
Max then moved into land investing in Valencia County and developed many properties there as well. Two of the largest and most successful were Sun Ranch Village at I-25 and Main Street and Rancho Valencia, a 378-lot community. Max was very proud to have brought the first cinema to Los Lunas and was recognized as “Citizen of the Year” by the Belen Chamber of Commerce.
For 3 years, Max hosted a popular weekly real estate segment on KKOB Radio in Albuquerque. His first-hand knowledge of real estate and ranching businesses, coupled with his love of New Mexico, has made him an invaluable resource for anyone buying property in New Mexico. Max has established excellent working relationships with lenders, appraisers, surveyors, title companies, the United States Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, New Mexico State Land Office and many other professional organizations throughout the state.
Max was a generous and fun-loving husband, father, son, brother, uncle and friend. He will be missed by his wife of 52 years, Cherie Kiehne; his son Emil J. Kiehne, his wife, Laurie, and grandsons Max Edward and Daniel, of Los Lunas; his son Shawn Kiehne and his wife, Ada, and his grandchildren Brett, Tyler and Kamila, all of Los Lunas, and his daughter, Kristin Armstrong of Baltimore, Maryland. Max is also survived by his three brothers and their wives: Arkie and Kathleen Kiehne, of Portales, NM, Jim and Bonnie Kiehne of El Paso, Texas, and Gary and Julie Kiehne of Springerville, Arizona, as well as his brothers-in-law. , John H. Reynolds, MD, of Las Cruces, NM, and Jim Reynolds and his wife, Tricia Reynolds, of Silver City, NM, along with numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
The memorial service for Max will be held at Calvary Chapel Rio Grande Valley, 19381 Hwy. 314, Belen, New Mexico. Saturday February 12, 2022 at 10 a.m. A welcome lunch will immediately follow the service. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Max’s name to Canon Christian Academy and the Citadel, care of Calvary Chapel Rio Grande Valley. Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Noblin Funeral Service, Los Lunas, 2211-D Main Street, SE Los Lunas, NM 87031, (505) 866-9992, www.noblin.com.
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Posted by Noblin Funeral Service – Los Lunas on February 1, 2022.