Max Karner just thought he was going to have lunch. He didn’t suspect a thing.
When he and his sons, David and Christopher Karner, arrived at Halifax Plantation Country Club one day last month, he figured it was only a coincidence that he bumped into someone from the University of Maine as he was walking in. Karner started college there in 1956, and then, in “one of those crazy things a guy does,” he decided to quit after one school year.
It turned out, that he was able to sit with the stranger from Maine. Perfect, he thought. Finally, Karner was introduced to the visitor, Dr. Dana N. Humphrey, who happened to be the dean of engineering.
In fact, the whole thing was orchestrated by Karner’s sons. Four years earlier, they put together an 11-page curriculum vitae for their father, whose 50 years of engineering covered some major projects in several cities, including White Plains, N.Y. Most recently, he coordinated a $50 million engineering project at Palm Coast’s Town Center.
Karner always felt some regret that he never had a degree in engineering. He had done the work all his life, but was never considered to have the right credentials. And so, his sons went behind his back to honor him after he retired.
His sons sent his history to Humphrey, who agreed that Karner should be invited as an honorary member of the prestigious Francis Crowe Society at the College of Engineering, for his contribution to the profession.
Joining Karner and his sons to celebrate were the Rev. Charles and Colleen Silano, S.E. Cline Construction President Scott Sowers, Cline Vice President Day Payton and Palm Coast Holdings vice presidents Clint Smith and David Lusby.
Karner’s son Max A. Karner IV was not able to attend, but was “an absent collaborator.” David Karner and his wife Cara Meece Karner and their children, Mikayla and Dylan were in attendance, as well as Karner’s wife’s sister, Marge Truss, and her husband, Walter, who traveled from South Carolina.
In addition to watching a slide show about Karner’s accomplishments, the attendees congratulated Karner as he received a medal.
“It was a thrilling experience to have all these people present,” said Karner, who is also a past president of the Palm Coast Chamber of Commerce.