Maxfield “Maxie” Aaron Shacknai was a vibrant, healthy, six-year-old boy whose life tragically ended on July 16th, 2011. From the moment he was born, his loving, wise, and diplomatic nature was evident to all those who knew him. Maxie loved to spend time with his family and friends, playing or just simply talking. He was sensitive and intensely loyal to his family and those close to him. He often talked about his many friends. He especially appreciated two relationships, one with his best friend, and the other with his school sweetheart of two years. He had a sense of humor and wit that belied his years and his beautiful laugh spread joy and happiness to all those in his presence. Maxie’s love of music included Opera, Russian Folk Music, Pop, Rock and everything in between. He loved to dance, sing, and read, and was learning to play Chess and speak Spanish. He treasured story time, favoring Dr. Seuss and a broad variety of poetry. Maxie had an appreciation of people and enthusiastically soaked up other cultures. He had the opportunity to travel domestically and abroad, but he seemed to have the most fun on road trips to Coronado, California. During a trip to New York with his family, Maxie was afforded the privilege of reportedly being the youngest person ever allowed on the New York Stock Exchange floor.
Maxie loved to play outdoors. A natural athlete, he began formally playing in the “Tiny Tots” soccer program, where he was the youngest player at 22 months of age. Over the next two seasons as a Scottsdale Soccer Recreational player, Maxie scored over 40 goals, and was a leader on his team. Max was invited to play up in Scottsdale Soccer’s competitive division, known as the Blackhawks, even though the other players on his squad were one or two years older than he. At each practice and in each game, Max – Number 6 – demonstrated enthusiasm for the sport and an intense drive to win. Max was very well-liked by fellow players and coaches in the Blackhawks program, and respected for his intensity, coupled with a great sense of camaraderie and humor. His friends and teammates appreciated Max’s empathy, kindness, and generosity of spirit.
At age four, Maxie began pre-kindergarten at Phoenix Country Day School. He was thrilled to attend the same school as his older brother and sister. He quickly made many friends of all ages including teachers and students. He was especially excited to participate in PCDS School Spirit days and other school events including the Blue and Gold Picnic, art shows, recitals, and, his favorite school event, Grandparents Day followed by the annual PCDS Track and Field Day. Maxie loved to host play dates, soccer parties, Valentines Day parties, and group Birthday parties at his house…at Maxie’s house.
In his honor, we have created a non-profit organization called Maxie’s HOUSE, which will embody the values and spirit of this six-year-old boy who was a shining example of compassion and love for others. Maxie’s legacy to the world is his enduring smile and his love for all children and adults. He was an exceptionally giving, thoughtful boy who always wanted everyone around him to be happy.
His legacy reminds us of how undeniably important it is that every child have the right to be safe and to live in a harmonious home environment.