Life and times of Max Moody Jr.

Max Moody Jr. around 1967.

Maxey Dell “Max” Moody Jr. was born on June 15, 1913 in Jacksonville to Ethel and Maxey Dell Moody. In the same year, his father had established the M. D. Moody company, which initially focused on the road construction industry. Growing up in Downtown Jacksonville, where M.D. Moody was first located, Max was raised around his father’s company. Max learned much about the business from an early age, doing virtually everything from servicing equipment to working on communication with distributors to acquire equipment. Max, along with his brother Muller Moody, started working full time at M.D. Moody in 1947, which led to its incorporation as M. D. Moody & Sons. After his father died in 1949, Max moved M.D. Moody & Sons to Philips Highway where he ran the company as president and CEO while his brother Muller was vice president.

Max became a successful leader, turning M.D. Moody & Sons into one of the most successful family-owned heavy equipment distributors in the Southeastern United States due to his strong work ethic. From 1950 to 1990 M.D. Moody & Sons reached unprecedented growth with numerous branches throughout Florida and hundreds of employees peaking in the 1980s. Max would occasionally accompany M.D. Moody & Sons employees to construction jobs where their heavy equipment would be used and he would photograph the work in progress.

Max’s photo of Downtown Jacksonville around 1958. The former Jacksonville Landing was in front of the Perdue’s and Hubbards buildings.

From the 1950s through the 1980s, Max took hundreds of photographs not just for M.D. Moody & Sons but also for pleasure. Many of his pictures show his family of seven with wife Dorothy, while others capture just whatever was happening at the time. For example, when the Hart Bridge was being built in 1967, Max took photos of the bridge under construction from his boat. Max enjoyed boat outings on the St. Johns River and many of his photographs were taken while out. When he wasn’t out on his boat, he would be taking photographs throughout Jacksonville because he just enjoyed photography.

Max enjoyed taking photographs, as evident in the hundreds of photos his great grandson Andrew R. Nicholas has inherited and published here in The Jaxson. Max died in 1987 but even after death his photographs live on. His photos reveal a character always in motion, ready for the next big thing. The following photos are just some of those he took in Jacksonville. Some had a date of when they were taken while others do not, which led to a general guess of when it was taken.

Max Moody’s photos

Max’s boat and some of his family going toward the old Acosta Bridge in 1958.

An M. D. Moody & Sons company truck preparing to transport heavy machinery in 1958.

The USS Lake Champlain (CV-39) at Mayport in 1958.

An interesting miscalculation of when a truck drove through wet cement around 1960.

An aerial photograph of downtown Jacksonville around 1960. You can see the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception Church, the church with the orange roof, toward the center of the photograph.

An aerial photograph of downtown Jacksonville around 1960. The Hotel George Washington, demolished in 1973, can be seen toward the left of the photograph and the St. James Building is on the right of the photograph.

The Gator Bowl around 1960. The Mathews Bridge can be seen in back.

The old City Hall Annex in 1960. This building was demolished in 2019.

The Atlantic Coast Line Building, now called the CSX Transportation Building, in 1960.

Next page: More of Max Moody’s photos