Eleanor Maxson

Category: Obituaries
Created on Tuesday, 17 January 2012 08:37
Published on Tuesday, 17 January 2012 08:36
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A memorial service for Eleanor Maxson will be  held 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 18, at the United Methodist Church, in honor of her life and solid spirit.
Eleanor’s life ended Jan. 11 at the Sitka Pioneeers Home, surrounded by her family.  She was 100 years old.
A retired school teacher, Eleanor had lived in Sitka since 1989.
She was born Aug. 1, 1911, in Kearney, Neb., the daughter of Thomas Jefferson Zike, a United Brethren minister, and Lora Lucinda Randolf.
Her mother died during the 1918 influenza epidemic when Eleanor was just 7. This required her to grow up quickly and assume a mothering role for her younger siblings.
Eleanor earned a teaching degree from York College in York, Neb.  There she met and married Theron Maxson from Walla Walla, Wash., in 1932.  They settled in Spokane, Wash., where she began her teaching career in a one-room school house teaching grades K-12.  Most of her students arrived to school each day by horseback or horse-drawn wagon.  The Maxsons had one daughter, Mary Anne.
In 1955 the Maxsons moved to Hastings, Neb., where Theron served as president of Hastings College. Eleanor assumed the role of “first lady” and spent much of her time hosting events and entertaining guests.
During this time they had the opportunity to travel internationally.  She often told stories of her travels through Europe, Egypt, Iran, Asia and the Far East.  The Maxsons  were passionate about visiting Third World countries and felt their mission was to promote education.  They were instrumental in the establishment of Payup University in Ching Mai, Thailand.
Known to those close to her as “Granny,” she was practical, kind, thoughtful, forgiving, tolerant and forward-thinking. She watched world news daily and read the local paper nightly, and was always aware of what was relevant at the moment.
She was an avid reader and spent countless hours reading to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  Granny loved to watch college and pro basketball and football, and knew most of the players by name.
Sitka residents may remember seeing a light blue 1968 International Scout driven by a little old lady, barely visible over the steering wheel, driving out Sawmill Creek Road with a yellow lab named Huck sitting shotgun.  Granny loved all animals and Huck was her best friend and protector during her later years.
Her greatest joys were her close knit family and their lake home on Deer Lake near Spokane, where she loved to skinny dip.
Gran moved into the Pioneers Home in June 2009.  She told family daily about the wonderful care she received there.  She was known by residents and caretakers for her kindness and gracious spirit.
She will forever be held in the hearts of her daughter, Mary Anne Maxson; her adopted daughter Duangporn Tengtrirat, Melbourne, Australia; her grandchildren, Kristi (Bill) Cotharp, Darcy (James) Michener of Sitka,  Marc (Maria) Brown, Seattle, and Mark (Michelle) Kaelke, Juneau; and great grandchildren, Ahna, Jess, Sophia and Emma.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Salvation Army.  There will also be a celebration of life ceremony at the Pioneers Home Chapel 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 1