Maxine Johnson

Maxine Byrdena Johnson, 94, a longtime resident of Rippey, passed away October 14, 2017 at Greene County Hospital Long Term Care, where she enjoyed the wonderful staff.

Maxine was born on a family farm northwest of Rippey in Greene County, Iowa to Ray Johnson and Mary Ellen Thompson Johnson, September 9, 1923. She graduated from Rippey High School in 1941 and received her teaching degree from the University of Northern Iowa. Later in life, she attended Drake University to work on a master’s degree.

Maxine taught kindergarten in Cooper for three years and 39 years in Rippey/East Greene Schools. Miss Johnson was a dedicated teacher, she enjoyed all of her many students and introduced many interesting activities. Kindergarten was all day, and after lunch she read to her students. She played piano at home and at school each day, singing songs that her students still recall.

The Easter Bunny would leave baby bunnies and eggs for the children to color every year at the door. Previous to the visit, she wrote each child’s name on the egg with a crayon so it would show up!

Each year her students were treated to watching baby chicks hatch.  

Maxine enjoyed crafts, quilting, cooking and baking which she shared with her nieces and nephews. She was a dedicated aunt to them. Maxine enjoyed being a member of the GAB Club in Rippey, Delta Kappa Gamma Sorority, the East Greene Organization and the Rippey United Methodist Church.

During the summers and at vacation times, she loved to travel the United States on bus tours with friends and met many new friends. Maxine enjoyed telling stories and memories from her teaching days. Having served for so many years, she taught several generations and one year had six cousins in her class with her being the 7th and was an aunt to one.

Maxine’s wishes were that her body would be deeded to the University of Iowa so students could further their education. She also asked that no services would be held. After the study in Iowa City, when her cremains are returned, a private family burial will be held at the Rippey Cemetery next to her parents.  

Maxine was preceded in death by her parents; her sister, Nadine Anderson and brother-in-law Walter; and niece, Deborah Anderson.

Maxine is survived by her sister, LeJane Dillivan (Maurice) of Jefferson; loving nieces and nephews: Kristine Goodwin (Dr. Courtney Goodwin) of Minneapolis, Minn., Cynthia Cole (Ronald) of Omaha, Neb., Angela Brown of Ames, Iowa, Andrea McFadyen (Don) of Ankeny, Iowa, Brenda Kiner (Stan) of Rippey, Iowa, Kim Dillivan (Mary) of Powell, Wyo. and Lori Minnihan (Todd) of Scranton, Iowa; great nieces and nephews: Curtis Goodwin, Kirsten Goodwin, Julie Madsen (Lars), Megan Cole, Brett Cole, Aaron Brown, Heather McFayden, Meredith Emery (Bryan), Jennifer McFayden, Jessica Kiner, Ivan Dean Kiner, Emily Kiner, Grant Dillivan, Natalie Dillivan, Heidi Minnihan, Zach Minnihan and Ben Minnihan; great-great niece and nephews: Cole Madsen, Elodie Madsen and Miles Emery; many other relatives and many friends.
Maxine devoted her life to her students and family, especially her nieces and nephews whom she adored and they loved her.

To teach with love
Through all the patient years,
To lend a hand,
To wipe a small child’s tears.

To see with love,
The lesson and the plan,
To help to mold
The child from youth to man.

To live with love
With mind and soul and heart.
To strive to do
The better nobler part.

To walk with love
In classrooms day by day,
To show the right,
The finer, higher way.

To give with love
To children you hold dear,
Wisdom, strength
To challenge want and fear.

To show with love
The world of wonders great,
To teach young minds
To labor, search and wait.

All this I have tried to do
For children and for youth.
I tried to teach the way
Of vision, beauty, truth.

Maxine Byrdena Johnson

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Jefferson Bee & Herald
Address: 200 N. Wilson St.
Jefferson, IA 50129

Phone:(515) 386-4161