Official Biography and Obituary

January 1, 1952 - November, 18, 2011

10th Dan A.I.M.A.
th Dan Shotokan Karate
7th Dan Kenka Aiki Jitsu
10th Dan Goju Ryu

Internationally Certified - Instructor
Safety Certified Instructor
CPR Qualified
A.I.M.A.Co-Founder, Head of Family,
Kwanmukan, USKA, PSDI, I.F.O.J.J., F.U.M.A.



Max E. Ciscell, Jr., 59, passed away at 1:49 AM, Friday, November 18th, 2011 at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital, Pittsburgh, following a brief illness resulting from a long battle with Rheumatoid Arthritis and Congestive Heart Failure

Mr. Ciscell was born in Sharon, PA on January 1, 1952, the son of the late Max E Ciscell Sr. and Lois (Livermore) Ciscell.

Max graduated from Brookfield High School in 1970 and began working at what was the former Sharon Steel Corporation.  He worked there for 18 years. He then went on to become a police officer serving for both the Wheatland and Shenango Township Police Departments.  In 1988, Max began pursuing a college education.  He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Youngstown State University in 1993 and later continued his education by completing a Master’s in Administration of Justice from Mercyhurst College in 1998 through the Juvenile Judges Commission of Pennsylvania.

Mr. Ciscell worked for the Department of Juvenile Probation for the last 20 years.  He was hired as a Juvenile Probation Officer for Mercer County and transitioned into the position of Community Liaison Officer in 2007.  Max has been instrumental in the development of staff safety procedures and training as well as aiding the department in obtaining the most updated safety equipment. He has also been influential in preventative services to the local school districts through presentations to students, parents, and administrators through programs such as “Anti Bullying” and “Internet Safety”. He spear-headed the Graffiti Busters Team for removal of graffiti within the community.   In recent years, he worked diligently with juveniles and community members to develop and maintain the Community Gardens through the valley which he was very passionate about.  The department has lost a great friend and will truly miss his devotion to the kids and the community.

A highly respected martial artist who is recognized by some of the most prestigious martial arts instructors and organizations throughout the U.S. and the world, Max began training in the martial arts in 1972.  He trained at the F.H. Buhl Club under Grand Master Joseph Bonacci and continued until the end of his life. He taught at the YSU Karate Club. He was the co-founder of the American Institute of Martial Arts and eventually attained the rank of Hanshi, then 10th degree Black Belt, and was recognized as Head of Family of the American Institute of Martial Arts, the highest rank that can be achieved in the martial arts.  He is one of the few people to have earned master level black belt status in multiple styles of martial arts. In 2002 he was inducted into the Karate Hall of Fame. As a sensei he inspired a host of children and adults to participate and continue in the Karate, many becoming life long practitioners and experts in the martial arts themselves. Max was always a tough competitor.  His accomplishments include winning a full contact fight with the son of the founder of Kyokushikai.  He was an avid participant in the local martial arts tournaments winning many and eventually becoming a qualified USKA and AAU international judge. His martial arts training carried over into his service as a police officer serving as Deputy Commander of the Police Self Defense Institute.  He was also a regular participant in the Pennsylvania and Ohio Police Olympics and he conducted realistic concealed weapons training and police defensive tactics with a number of local police forces. In 1989, he received a Medal of Valor Award for Heroism, presented by the Police Self Defense Instructors International.  He was a long time member of the United States Karate Association, International Federation of JuJutsuans, International Brotherhood of Martial Artists, Bonacci International and the Kwanmuzendokai.  Max was a registered black belt with the World Union of Karatedo Organizations and also served on the USA Karate Federation - Kwanmukan Senior Masters Caucus that is part of the United States Olympic Committee.

He loved watching Steelers games in his reserved seat at Billy’s Black & Gold, loved golf and woodworking.  He will be remembered for his Love of God, Love of family, Love of Friends and his Love of Life.

Surviving are his wife, Colleen F. (O’Toole) Ciscell with whom he had just celebrated 25 wonderful years of marriage, daughters, Mandy Ciscell of Hermitage, Nikki Leyde and her husband David C. of Sharpsville, Molly Ciscell of Pittsburgh, and Heather Gerlach and her companion Ralph Hoffman of Sharon and 9 Grandchildren, Mia and Macie Aley, Emily, Jenna and Maggie Leyde, Bryan Cornelious II, and Garret, Landon and Slade Hoffman.  A sister, Marjorie Dirgo (Jim) of Sharon, and a brother Merle (Robin) Ciscell of Texas also survive him.  Several sister and brother-in-laws, and numerous nieces and nephews will sorely miss Max.  He loved them all deeply.
His parents and 2 brothers Paul Ciscell and Carl Livermore preceded Mr. Ciscell in death.











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