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Maxine's Story

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Maxine M. Greene passed away Aug. 22, 2017 three months shy of her 102nd birthday. She was born Maxine Muriel Sage in Central Lake on Nov. 16, 1915 to Harold B. and Almira J. (Haag) Sage. The families were primarily farmers with roots in the Rockford area.
Maxine graduated from Central Lake High School in 1933 but without many job opportunities during the Great Depression, she elected to repeat her senior year, this time in Ellsworth. She subsequently worked for the telephone company in Central Lake.
One of Maxine's uncles was a missionary teacher for the YMCA, and Maxine also looked forward to becoming a missionary, though not as teacher. She was awarded a tuition and room-and-board scholarship to Alma College but had to turn it down because she was unable to afford money for books. A friend talked her into enrolling in the Antrim County Normal School for training teachers, and she fell in love with education.
She taught in northern Michigan one-room schools in N. Milton, Canby, Lark Lake, Alden, Bayview and Ellsworth until 1946, when she moved to Kalamazoo and earned her Bachelor of Science degree in education in 1947 at the then Western Michigan State Teachers' College.
She also achieved her "MRS," meeting and marrying James M.H. Greene, of Binghamton, New York, and St. Joseph, in Kalamazoo in 1947.
Maxine taught in the Kalamazoo and Ann Arbor public schools until 1951. After the birth of daughter, Leslie, in Ann Arbor in 1952 the couple returned to Central Lake and then moved to Traverse City in 1954, where Maxine worked at Badgero's Gifts and then Milliken's Department Store. Her first local teaching position was the kindergarten class at Bertha Vos school in Acme from 1956 to 1957. She moved on to Old Mission Peninsula School, where she remained teaching fifth graders until her retirement in 1981. Besides County Normal and Western, she had credits from Michigan State University, the University of Michigan and the University of Wyoming in Laramie, Wyoming.
Maxine became a member of Traverse City First Congregational Church in 1954. She sang alto and then tenor in the church choir for nearly 50 years. She was an active member of the Women's Fellowship and longtime volunteer at the church Thrift Shop; in later years she enjoyed outings with the Funtimers. She kept busy during retirement with a life of service in her church and local organizations. She was a church camp counselor and traveled on youth group "away missions." She held the offices of vice-moderator and moderator of the United Northern Association of the Michigan Conference of the United Church of Christ and was on the Personnel Committee of the Michigan Conference, UCC. She served on the board of LOVE, INC, was a volunteer driver for the Michigan Department of Social Services and a docent at Dennos Museum. She was also the somewhat embarrassed recipient of two WCCW "Good Guy" awards.
Maxine was preceded in death by her parents; her brother, Don H. Sage, of Garden City; and her husband, Jim.
She is survived by daughter, Leslie (Mrs. A. Craig) South, of Traverse City; nieces, Donna (John) Tobin, of Redford, and Paulette (Alex) Street, of Garden City; nephew, David (Paula) Sage, of Paw Paw; many great and great-great-nieces and nephews; "adopted" daughter, Cynthia (Besaw) Blattenberger and "adopted" grandsons, Wesley, AJ and Sam Worden, of Traverse City.
Friends and family are invited to a visitation on Thursday, Sept. 14, from 5 to 8 p.m., at Reynolds Jonkhoff Funeral Home in Traverse City, and to a memorial service on Friday, Sept. 15, at 11 a.m., at the First Congregational Church of Traverse City, 6105 Center Road. A reception will follow at the church, with interment thereafter at Traverse City Memorial Gardens.
Memorials, in lieu of flowers, may be made to LOVE, INC, PO Box 5114, Traverse City, MI 49696; or Hospice of Michigan, 10850 East Traverse Highway, Suite 1155, Traverse City, MI 49684.
Please share your thoughts and memories of Maxine with her family by way of her online guestbook at www.reynolds-jonkhoff.com.
The family is being cared for by the Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home and Cremation Services.
Published on September 10, 2017
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