Max Schoenfeld, 108, A Founder Of Clothing-Manufacturing Empire

Max Schoenfeld, a German immigrant who helped found a clothing-manufacturing empire, died in his Seattle home Thursday evening at the age of 108.

A native of Mandel, a small village about 30 miles from Frankfurt, Mr. Schoenfeld went to Chicago in 1894 when he was 12 to work in a clothing factory with two older brothers, Theodore and Herman.

In an interview with The Times when he was 99, Mr. Schoenfeld said:

``I can remember walking three miles to save a 5-cent trolley fare. And by sneaking into a saloon we could have free food from the bar. All three of us knew what it was to work for a clothing firm - 60 hours a week, and for a measly $4.''

In 1906, the brothers began Schoenfeld Brothers Inc. to sell men's neckwear under the label of Fashion Craft Neckwear.

His son, Walter, chairman of the Schoenfeld Group, a holding company for various family enterprises, said the brothers had read about construction in Seattle of the Smith Tower, then the tallest building west of Chicago, and decided the Pacific Northwest city would be a good place to begin their new business.

Fashion Craft was the forerunner of Brittania Sportswear, which was sold in the early 1980s. Brittania spawned a number of similar companies, which have established Seattle as a sportswear-manufacturing center.

Active as an on-the-road salesman until he was 75, Mr. Schoenfeld headed Schoenfeld Industries until 1968 when Walter

Schoenfeld stepped up as president.

But his father ``came to the office every day until he was 105 years old,'' Walter Schoenfeld said.

Mr. Schoenfeld was a member of the Glendale Country Club and played golf until he was 99.

He also loved baseball - the Schoenfeld family were among the original owners of the Mariners - and was a horse-racing fan.

He attended his last race at Longacres a month ago, tickled to have come away $12 ahead, Walter Schoenfeld said.

His father taught by example, Walter Schoenfeld said. ``I never in my life heard him raise his voice,'' the son said. ``He loved life. He loved Seattle.''

A former board member and officer at Temple de Hirsch, Mr. Schoenfeld attended services every week until about a week ago.

He was formerly active in the Elks and served on several civic committees.

Besides Walter Schoenfeld of Mercer Island, Mr. Schoenfeld is survived by another son, Alvin, also of Mercer Island, seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild. His wife of 67 years, Edna, died in June at the age of 96.

Funeral services will be held at 3 p.m. tomorrow in the Arthur A. Wright Funeral Home, 520 W. Raye St., with entombment in the Hills of Eternity Mausoleum.

The family suggests remembrances to Temple de Hirsch.