Life Story / Obituary
Maxine Stienbarger was a devoted family woman and a child of God. Her sweet personality and depth of faith made her the kind of person who genuinely cared about others. She was compassionate and generous, full of goodness and common sense. As matriarch of her family, she drew her loved ones together in a common bond and instilled in them the pride of their heritage, rich in history and strong in values.
Maxine was born during the harsh years of the Great Depression, when families were struggling to survive yet managed to make life pleasant by their resilient spirit and optimistic outlook. One such family in LaGrange, Indiana was especially hopeful because they were expecting their first child. Garlan R. and Reva (Haney) Gose welcomed daughter Maxine into their lives on June 17, 1931.
Along with her four younger siblings, Maxine or Mac as she was called grew up in LaGrange County and around lower Michigan. Even though the family moved frequently and Maxine attended 14 different schools, she managed to skip a grade and graduated from Mendon High School in 1949.
Maxine met the love of her life one afternoon when a young man selling walnuts happened upon the Gose farm. Wayne Stienbarger made a sale to Maxine’s mother, but later he returned with a gift for Maxine—a belt made from the walnuts he hadn’t sold. It must have impressed Mac, because the couple married later on January 8, 1950 in Wolcottville, Indiana.
The newlyweds resided in Texas and Indiana before returning to Mendon. In later years Mac and Wayne were co-owners of Portage Creek Farms. For over 50 years, Mac was a wonderful wife, mother of three and the bookkeeper for Wayne’s enterprises. She supported Boys Town organizations, Veterans programs and Hospice care. Mac enjoyed being a member of the Faith Fellowship Church in Schoolcraft.
Maxine assumed the informal role of assisting in family genealogy because she was interested in her ancestral history and she liked to travel. The family often took vacations to see extended family in Kentucky and to research the family tree. For several years, Mac and Wayne also attended the Fiddle and Clogging Championships in Tennessee and got a sense for their historical roots.
With all her family involvements, Maxine still found time to indulge her hobbies. She had a bit of a green thumb with gladiolas and her needlework won ribbons at the St. Joseph County Grange Fair. She joined a local bowling league and was a big fan of Detroit Tigers baseball and Red Wings hockey.
When she became a grandmother, her favorite pastime by far was spending time with her grandchildren. She had always enjoyed watching her children play sports and participate in school events, and Maxine did the same for her grandchildren. She liked playing games with them, and especially on New Year’s Eve, Mac could be found playing cards with the kids. She and Wayne also took them to local K-Wings games and wasn’t one to contain her excitement for the game. Mac was usually a quiet woman until it came to hockey. Commenting on her own enthusiasm, Mac said the rink was the one place you didn’t have to be a lady.
Maxine’s faith served her well when she was diagnosed with cancer in the mid 1990s. She never let the prognosis bother her, because she knew in her heart that she was going to be fine. After almost a year of treatments, Mac was cancer free.
E. Maxine Stienbarger, age 83 of Mendon, Michigan died peacefully at her home on Thursday, May 21, 2015. Maxine will be missed as the matriarch of the family, yet it is a comfort to know she is with the Lord and reunited with family members who have gone before.
Maxine is survived by two children, Pam (Tom) Kline of Mendon, and Randy Stienbarger of Three Rivers; four grandchildren, Carrie Bartholomew, Brad McKenzie, Scott Stienbarger, and Jessica (John) Stratton all of Mendon; eleven great-grandchildren; sister, Ethylene (John) Miller of Vicksburg; two brothers, Den (Marsha) Gose and Ken (Janice) Gose both of Grand Junction, CO; sister-in-law Bonnie Gose; several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Wayne; son, Bradley; grandson, Ethan; and brother, Dale Gose.
Due to road construction in Mendon, the family will receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Eickhoff Farrand Halverson Chapel, 305 Rock River Avenue in Three Rivers. Funeral services will be 11 a.m. Wednesday May 27, 2015 at the Faith Fellowship Church, 44 West VW Avenue, Schoolcraft with Rev, Brian Lutz officiating. Burial will be at Beard Cemetery in Leonidas Township. It is suggested that memorials be directed to either Faith Fellowship Church, or to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan. Arrangements were by the Eickhoff Funeral Home of Mendon. Condolences may be expressed to the family online at www.eickhofffuneralhome.com