Maxine Parsons Patterson graced our world for 97 years, passing away on Friday, May 6th at Citizen's Care & Rehabilitation Center in Havre de Grace, MD. She was predeceased by husband James D. Patterson II, parents Herman W. Parsons and Fannye Perdue Parsons, sister Virginia Long, brothers Wilbur Parsons and William Stark, and half-sister Mildred Marfing. To cherish her memory, she leaves son Keith Patterson and wife Pat, daughter Paula Patterson and spouse Carmen Diaz, son Wayne Patterson and wife Carolyn, step-son J. Davis Patterson III and wife Mary, and daughter-in-law Michele Ebner and husband Jerry. She is also survived by her sisters Stella Griffith and Gayle Gillespie; grandchildren Jenny (Brian), Jamie (Kara), Jason (Becki), Joshua, Jordan, and Garrett; four great-grandchildren (and one to arrive soon); many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. All beloved.
Born & raised in Snow Hill, MD, Maxine was a true daughter of the Eastern Shore, though she lived in Panama City, Philadelphia and La Plata before settling in Havre de Grace. She was no stranger to hard work, shouldering the daily chores of feeding livestock, planting and harvesting crops, and milking cows on her parents’ large dairy farm in Snow Hill. She joined the homefront effort during WWII, working as a turret lathe operator at the Fleetwings Corporation aircraft plant in Bristol, Pennsylvania. Later on, she found her calling as a telephone operator, eventually earning the chief operator position at Bainbridge Naval Station.
Maxine was a devoted wife, mother, sister, grandmother, aunt, friend, and neighbor. She brought light into the lives of many children – teaching Sunday School at the Havre de Grace United Methodist Church, serving as den mother for the local Cub Scouts, coaching softball, ferrying carloads of Little Leaguers back and forth, and volunteering time to the PTA and school events. She taught her children how to play baseball, shoot archery, and took them to endless swimming lessons. Family vacations were spent on the Eastern Shore with her parents, sisters and their families, swimming, crabbing, clamming, and of course, eating. Maxine and her sisters were proficient at cooking the delicious food particular to Delmarva culture: fried chicken, steamed crabs, fried oysters, corn on the cob, collard greens, turnips, cornbread, fried green tomatoes, fried yellow squash, lima beans and corn (followed by watermelon and cantaloupe). Food is love and sometimes heaven, especially when cooked by an Eastern Shore gal. When Maxine, Stella and Gayle were in the kitchen together cooking -- it was harmony and cacophony; laughter and bickering-- but a joy to behold and keep your distance. Their close bond was a daily affirmation and lasted her lifetime.
Maxine graduated high school, and attended nursing school for some time, but quit to care for her ill father. She often lamented her lack of advanced education, but she was a self-sufficient, hands-on person of immense talent, never shirking a challenge. An accomplished seamstress, amateur hairdresser, furniture upholsterer and re-finisher, cake decorator, caregiver, cook, and floral arranger, Maxine freely lent her talents to family and friends. She was also an avid sports fan, listening to the Orioles on the radio while she was outside on the carport, enjoying the summer breezes. As she aged, the Orioles and the Ravens games became a centerpiece of her day. She was a knowledgeable fan, knowing the players and some of their stats, following them faithfully through their losing seasons and her failing eyesight.
After her children went off to college and jobs, Maxine painstakingly devoted her time to nursing her husband Jim through years of cancer surgeries, as well as caring for both of his parents, until the end of their days. Then, after mourning, she was free to dote on her grandchildren and indulge her own interests. She was fun-loving, bursting with energy, always quick to smile and laugh. She enjoyed spending more time with her grandsons, taking them to lacrosse camp and cooking their favorite foods. She hit her stride when she joined one of her best friends, Pat McCarthy, in traversing the East Coast, buying and selling antiques for Pat's business, Jackson Station Antiques in Perryville. Until her early 80's, Maxine traveled with Pat and friends to Brimfield and Kutztown, selling antiques, sleeping in the back of Pat's box truck, cooking meals on campfires and grills, feeding old friends and new. She had a ball.
In her later years, Maxine loved her weekly Card Club gatherings, Young at Heart meetings, Travel Club, Friends of the Lighthouse events, frequent breakfasts at McDonalds, and gallivanting around with her late friends John Gallagher and Jean Weir. The Boardwalk at Tydings Park was a frequent and beloved gathering place.
But living a long life is often fraught with health problems, and Maxine carried her share with grace and strength. She survived lung cancer -- due to great medical care, her family's support, and her own resilience and positive attitude --living another 14 years cancer free. Her greatest travail, by her own account, was developing Advanced Macular Degeneration and losing most of her eyesight. Many acquaintances were unaware of her disability because of her sheer will and ability to compensate for near blindness. Maxine lived independently and happily. Much of her last year was spent off and on at Citizen's Care in the rehab unit where she received compassionate care from their dedicated nurses, aides, and therapists. Maxine was truly happy there and the staff embraced her like family. We were delighted by their evident love for her and offer them our deepest thanks. Infinite gratitude is due to Dr. Robert Rapp (and his staff) for years of unparalleled care, guidance, patience, and perseverance. We also give thanks for Maxine's loving friends Pat McCarthy, Ed Tristani, Kathy Delp, Lynda Brodeur, and especially Paul and Ruth Mauldin.
A Celebration of Life for Maxine will take place on Saturday, May 21st at Lee A. Patterson & Son Funeral Home, P.A., 1493 Clayton St, Perryville, Maryland. Meet-and-Greet begins at 11:00 AM, Service at 12:00 noon, Pastor Norman Obenshain presiding. No viewing or graveside ceremony. In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Maxine may be sent to the Havre de Grace United Methodist Church, 101 S. Union Ave, Havre de Grace, MD 21078.
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