Maxine's Story

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Maxine Armstrong Wyatt, 99, of Suttons Bay, passed away Jan. 29, 2018 in her home surrounded by her loving family. Mrs. Wyatt was born on Oct. 12, 1918 in Lake City the daughter of Arthur and Zora (Hatch) Armstrong.
She married Dr. Joseph H. Wyatt in 1950 in Detroit. He preceded her in death in 2015 at the age of 94.
Born a month before the end of World War I, Maxine's family moved to Detroit when she was very young and lived in relative poverty made worse by the depression. Her father died while she was in her late teens.
She worked in the office of Northwestern High School while in school herself, then within two years of graduation she was the head secretary, a position she excelled at for the next 10 years. She took on a great deal of responsibility at a very young age, becoming the breadwinner for her family until well into her mid-20s.
Maxine loved her job, particularly the freedom it afforded her in the summers when she would take a packed bag to work on her last day of school, then hop in the car, alone or with a friend, to head out to explore the country. By the time she was in her late 20s she had visited 47 of 50 states.
She married Joe Wyatt, a physician, when she was 31. They quickly started a family and all four kids were born in the next six years. As a mom, she insisted that her kids respected and cared for each other growing up, and all four of her children agree that this is one of the greatest gifts she gave them.
Maxine cherished the friendships she made with eight wonderful women as they grew up together in Detroit, and those friendships lasted an entire lifetime. She was a loyal friend making many more in every phase of life, including those she met through PEO.
Strikingly beautiful, Maxine often modeled, most notably in the period fashion shows put on by Goodwill Industries. She loved the big band era, loved to dance, and if "Mac The Knife" was playing, there was no keeping her in her chair. She was in her heyday as a smart shopper. She was the kind of person who knew the produce manager at Kroger and the commercial fishermen at the docks in Florida, always getting the best strawberries in season and the best fish.
Maxine went on to travel the world where she rode elephants and swam in every major body of water throughout India, Pakistan, Israel and more. She participated vehemently in environmental issues, particularly around wetland preservation, after she and Joe moved to Florida in the late '70s. She lived a healthy life with exercise as a centerpiece, leading exercise and water aerobic groups well into her 80s and even winning the Senior Olympics in swimming one year.
Maxine loved convertibles and driving fast, loved water in every form, loved her family fiercely and took enormous joy in her five grandchildren.
She is survived by her children, Pam (David) Bradshaw, Wendy Wyatt, Stephen Wyatt and Deb (Neal) Fellows; and five grandchildren, Charlie Wyatt, Ben Fellows, Peter Fellows, Austin Fellows and Olivia Fellows.
She was preceded in death by her sister, Garnette Dwyer; and her brother, Rheul (Jack) Armstrong.
A summer graveside ceremony will take place with family and friends.
Memorials may be directed to the Wounded Warrior Project at woundedwarriorproject.org; the Leelanau Conservancy, 105 First St., Leland, MI 49654; and Planned Parenthood, 1135 E. Eighth St., Traverse City, MI 49686.
Please share condolences with Maxine's family at www.martinson.info.
Arrangements are with the Martinson Funeral Home and Cremation Services of Leelanau.
Published on March 7, 2018
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