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National Fallen Firefighters Foundation

Roll of Honor

Age: 47
Year of Death: 2022

Max Fortuna

Regardless of where he was or who he was with, Max was always laughing and having fun. He had the best mischievous grin and loved being silly to get a reaction out of others. But above all else, the things Max held most valuable, sacred, and pure were his faith, his family, and being a fireman.

Max was the true definition of a Christian, a Christ-like man. His faith was evident in all that he did, from the words that he spoke to his actions. He enjoyed sharing his faith by playing bass in his church worship band. Max loved kids, so when the fire department hosted a Make-A-Wish event for a boy named Erik who wished to be a fireman for a day, there was no better engine company to make this happen than Max’s. At the culmination of the day, Max backed up Erik while they “battled a fire” at the training center, the expression on Max’s face reflecting nothing but love. Max’s whole heart was in it. He was bound and determined to be the one that showed the face of Jesus to a sick child, to love on him like Jesus would.

Max met his wife, Becky, on their first day of high school, and they instantly became friends. They started dating in 1991, their senior year of high school, and remained together ever since. Max and Becky married in 1996. They celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary in 2021 and honored that milestone by renewing their vows.

Max was blessed with two wonderful children, Samantha and Joshua. Joshua was engaged to Gianmaris when Max passed; they married in December 2022.

Max started out in the fire service as a volunteer firefighter with the Ceres Fire Department. After earning his paramedic license, Max was hired with the Stockton Fire Department in December 2000. He quickly became known as a fireman’s fireman. He loved the Stockton Fire Department, especially Battalion One. He was a long-term resident of Engine 12, the east side pride, and Company 2, the downtown firehouse.

Max was known for pushing hard as a fireman. He wanted the toughest assignments, to be the first to get out the door, the first on scene, the first to make the stretch, and the first to get water on the fire. Max wanted to save lives, and oftentimes he did. He was the first to start working and the last to stop. Max promoted to captain in 2008. He took pride in himself, his crew, his battalion, and the Stockton Fire Department as a whole.


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  1. As the world knew him as Max I knew him as Junior. He was my oldest brother and truly my hero growing up. He was there to hold my bike as I learned how to ride a two wheel. He was there to wipe every tear that would fall when life was unfair. Later in life he became a second dad to my boys and the brother that wouldn’t let me give up on my dreams. I was able to accomplish my dreams with a lot of his help. He helped watch the kids for me so I could study, and even allowed my oldest to move in for a time. Junior was there making sure I finished nursing school. I was able to work over ten years in the same city he worked in as a ER nurse. I got to work with him weekly as he brought in patients.
    Mom and Dad miss you daily, they struggle most of the time, because they miss their individual lunch dates with you. They miss the jokes you played on them and your “Let’s go,.. come on there is a new movie that just came out.” You took time to make sure they knew they were loved by you. Thank you for so many memories. My promise to you is I will keep your memory alive. Your name will be said each time we give out a scholarship in your name.

    Love and Miss you lots,
    Forever Your Little Sister

    – Tammy Fortuna-Dufton