Maxine Vrtis

June 12, 1944 - January 22, 2016
Livonia, MI



Tuesday, January 26, 2016
2:00 PM to 9:00 PM EST
Turowski Life Story Funeral Homes
Livonia, West of Middlebelt
30200 Five Mile Rd.
Livonia, MI 48154
(734) 525-9020
Driving Directions


Wednesday, January 27, 2016
10:30 AM EST
St. Robert Bellarmine
27201 West Chicago
Redford, MI

Instate 10am


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

Cardwell Florist
(734) 421-3567

Life Story / Obituary


Some people make the world brighter and lift the hearts of others in remarkable ways, and Maxine Vrtis was such a woman. With her loving smile and fun-loving ways, Maxine was simply a joy to know and love. More than anything, she treasured her family and the friends she held dear. With lasting remembrance, Maxine lives on in the hearts of many.

The precious daughter of John and Rose Sandel, Maxine Rose was born on June 12, 1944 as World War II raged overseas. Rationing was taking place on the home front and women entered the workforce in droves. News of the day included headlines of war which made for worrisome hearts back home, yet the entertainment world brought welcome relief. The sounds of Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters, along with American baseball created a much needed diversion for many during these tumultuous times.

Born in Detroit, Michigan, young Maxine was raised in the tree lined Detroit suburb of Allen Park where her family made their home. She grew up alongside her brother, Daniel, and during her youth she spent a good amount of her time raising her younger sister, Sandra while her parents worked. Even so, Maxine was an outgoing young girl who made friends easily. With her winning smile and fun-loving nature, it was easy for others to befriend someone as likable as Maxine.

Maxine relished fun times skiing as one of her favorite pastimes and spending time with her close and dearest cousins, Karen, Elaine, Kim, Laura, and Linda Sandel. Whenever they were together, it was sure to be a fun and memorable time. Maxine loved traveling with her family. Over the years they enjoyed numerous road trips, and often visited family and friends on a family farm in Hillsdale, Michigan. Throughout her life Maxine especially loved gathering for her family’s Polish parties and the Christmas holiday where from her earliest years she loved and had a heart for giving.

Having attended the local schools, Maxine often played baseball with neighborhood friends. She excelled in her studies and was quite into academics. Along with her schooling, she loved nothing more than times spend with her family and friends. After graduating in 1962 from Allen Park High School, Maxine went on to further her education at Central Michigan University. There she was a member of a sorority, and obtained her Bachelors degree in education.

Maxine enjoyed a 36 year career as a physical education teacher at Robichaud High School. While there she was even instrumental in beginning the cheerleading program for the Bulldogs. Maxine loved her position and it gave her a significant way to be a positive and encouraging role model and influence on her students.

Her students were not the only ones Maxine had an influence on. Married for a time, Maxine lovingly raised her son, Matthew who was the delight of her life. She counted the day her beloved son was born as one of her best, and later, the birth of her precious grandson, Owen brought her great joy. Maxine loved caring for her young son. Together they spent the best of times at the park, and Maxine loved being a hockey mom and coaching her son from the stands. In all ways, Maxine was just as much a loving aunt. She held close to her heart her family and maintained these close relationships throughout her life.

The years brought much happiness to Maxine’s life. She enjoyed several special vacations, and yearly trips to lakeside cottages with her family were simply the best. She considered holiday gatherings at her mother’s home exceptional, and as always, Maxine’s giving spirit delighted her in every way. She also enjoyed playing golf, going to plays and traveling with friends.

It was a joy to share Maxine’s company. No matter where she was or who she was with, Maxine’s goofy and fun-loving personality was sure to shine. She and her friends would go to movies and do “two-fors.” After watching one movie, they’d sneak in to watch another! She brought much laughter to the days of others with her wonderful sense of humor and entertaining ways. With a song in her heart, she sometimes would randomly start dancing in the most spontaneous of ways. In fact, following her son’s wedding, Maxine fell in love with pop and rap music. It wasn’t unlike her to crank up the music and dance, even in her car!

After retiring, Maxine began working at a local Hallmark store where she remained for ten years. Quite an asset, she was a natural when it came to working with the public. An avid Detroit Redwings fan, Maxine loved yelling at the TV while watching intense hockey moments whenever they played and true to Maxine form, she could often be heard saying, “Oh sugar!” or, “It is what it is.”

In her free time Maxine loved a good mystery, especially by her favorite author, Sue Grafton. She also liked watching some of her shows on TV such as Law and Order, Downton Abbey, NCIS, and Person of Interest. And Maxine’s taste for quality was bar none. She loved Panera Bread Restaurant, McDonald’s mochas, and Cavit pinot noir wine. In her earlier years her drink of choice was Chivas Regal, Scotch on the rocks, and while vacationing and playing dominos she preferred Captain rum and coke.

Maxine’s lifelong dream was realized when she and her friends stayed at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. Maxine loved sitting on one of the porch rocking chair where many photos were taken and will be truly treasured. Maxine’s Catholic faith was another important part of her life, having faithfully attended St. Robert Bellarmine Catholic Church.

Never one for confrontations, Maxine had the personality of a fun and loving woman. She never ceased in putting family and friends first, and with ways of her own, she did so exceedingly well. When Maxine was around, she filled the room with laughter and her great facial expressions. When in the care of hospice, Maxine loved the time spent with her grandson in music therapy and these times were overwhelmingly precious to her. Even in the midst of her illness, Maxine placed the needs of her family and others above her own. She loved fully and completely at every opportunity, and for those who knew Maxine best, she will be remembered fondly and lovingly.

Maxine Rose Vrtis passed away on Friday, January 22, 2016. She was the beloved mother of Matthew (Kelli), and cherished grandmother of Owen. A visitation will be held on Tuesday from 2-9 pm at Neely-Turowski Funeral Home, 30200 Five Mile (between Middlebelt and Merriman). A Mass of Christian burial will be held on Wednesday, 10:30 am, instate 10am at St Robert Bellarmine Catholic Church. To share a favorite memory and/or photo of Maxine and to sign her online guestbook, please visit www.turowskilifestory.com.