Maxine Ure, 92, of Cooper, died Saturday, December 2, 2017.
Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, December 21 at Slininger-Schroeder Funeral Home in Jefferson with James Healy presiding. Chris Henning will give the eulogy. James Healy will sing “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” Interment will be in the Franklin Township Cemetery in Cooper, Iowa. The family will visit with friends at the funeral home one hour prior to the service, beginning at 9:30 a.m. Thursday. Following the funeral and interment, friends are invited to 308 Vine Street in Cooper where the family is hosting a luncheon and time for visiting and sharing memories.
Maxine was born May 12, 1925 to Dewey and Elsie Olive (Rice) Rensch in the Greene County Hospital. She lived with her parents and two younger siblings, Joe and Edie, in a two-room house in Cooper. Dewey owned a gas station and garage near the lumberyard and Elsie raised chickens and pigs, gardened, cooked fabulous meals and even chopped wood to keep the fire going in the winter. Her parents saw to it that their daughter had an upright piano, which took up a lot of space in the two-room house and testifies to the importance her parents placed on supporting her talent and abilities. She took piano lessons and eventually played piano for services at the Cooper Methodist Church. Music was her defining artistic outlet, though she was always interested in interior and fashion design with Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and House Beautiful as her magazines of choice.
Maxine remembers the passenger train service that came through Cooper on its daily round trip between Fort Dodge and Des Moines where she could ride it to Jefferson and back to Cooper for 35 cents. Mail was delivered to the depot and the train provided other services such as coal, livestock, grain, produce and lumber transport. The family drove the car to Jefferson on Saturday night to do their trading for food and supplies.
She attended school in Cooper, loved singing in choir, playing piano, and serving as guard in basketball for four years of high school. She studied by oil lamp to maintain a straight A average through school and graduated from Cooper High School as Valedictorian in 1943 with WWll in progress and classmates and young men across the nation were being drafted into service.
Her first job after graduation was in the children’s department located in the basement of the JC Penney store where she worked for 1½ years. Later she worked at the Empire Diamond Company. She lived in an apartment in Jefferson with her friend Darlene Coil. Together they took the longest trip of Max’s life to California by train. When she returned to Jefferson, she started working at the Gamble’s department store. Early adult life included shopping, movies, dating, and attending Friday night dances in Grand Junction, using bus transportation between the two towns.
She and her future husband Eugene (Deke) were at that time only friends. He was drafted into the Army in 1942, doing basic in Texas before deployment to North Africa and then to Italy where he served as Technical Sergeant, operating heavy weapons in the north Apennines, the Po Valley and Rome until 1944. She wrote him while he was in the service. Upon his discharge and return to Cooper, they began dating and were engaged on October 27, 1946.
Deke moved to Kansas City to attend Stevinson’s Aeronautical and Automotive School under the GI Bill. Near the end of January 1947, Maxine took the bus from Cooper to Kansas City where she was met at the bus depot at midnight by Deke, his sister Helen and her husband Bud Bennett. They returned to Deke’s apartment and all four slept crosswise on the bed that night.
They were married January 30, 1947 in the Linwood Methodist Church in Kansas City by Reverend Cassius E. Street, attended by Bud and Helen as witnesses. They telegraphed this wedding announcement to Ivan Knoedel, the depot agent in Cooper who walked the telegram one block south to tell the good news to Dewey and Elsie, Maxine’s parents and 2 blocks north to tell Walt and Glennie Ure, Deke’s parents. Their Kansas City apartment rented from the beautiful, kind and portly Mrs. Tidd was a second floor walk-up with an outside staircase, an aspect that Maxine did not like. Both talked about hearing continuous police and ambulance sirens while living in Kansas City and longed for the peace and quiet of Cooper.
Upon Deke’s graduation from the KC school, and with his job in Jefferson waiting at Schall Ames, they left Kansas City in the morning with Deke driving their Model A arriving in Cooper that evening. They lived with Deke’s parents while Deke and Dewey built their house on an existing foundation on a lot in Cooper purchased by Deke’s mother Glennie from Harry Cole’s sister. Maxine remembers the drive to Des Moines with Deke in her Uncle Frank’s truck to bring back lumber to supplement their salvaged lumber supply. Ever dutiful Grandma Elsie had supper waiting for them when they returned that night.
After working as a mechanic, Deke began plastering and laying block with his brothers Jack and Jorb before starting work on the Underground Pipeline, traveling where more than 20 years of work took him to lay gas pipelines into communities in Iowa and across the Midwest. For the first few years of his pipeline work, Max and the kids traveled with Deke during the summer, enrolling the kids in schools for fall semester in whatever town in whatever state Deke was working in, returning to Cooper when the snow flew to begin their schooling in spring semester back home until 1959. From that time forward, in the faithful, supportive role that was her nature, Max kept the home fires burning in Cooper year after year while Deke worked away from home in the months of good weather, each looking forward to the winter months when the ground was too frozen and the weather was too cold to lay pipe. Then he would be home with the family. Deke became a master gardener upon retirement and Max canned prolific amounts of tomatoes, green beans and her famous pickled beets from his garden.
The value they found in salvaged objects and materials inspired by living through the Depression translated into an avocation of attending auctions, thrifting, and antiquing. They were pickers: recycling and repurposing before those terms were coined.
Joined at the hip, partners for life, living quietly and frugally, they raised their kids Jim and Cheri in the house they built in Cooper, living in it for over 50 years. They entered Regency together in 2008, celebrating 64 years of marriage in 2011 at the time of Deke’s death. His reflective, repeated observation to us, “Your mother is a beautiful woman,” served as his testimony of respect for her and reminded us of his care for her that we also shared. Maxine passed from this world December 2, 2017 at the age of 92 years.
Now they are both at rest, together again in Cooper, where they built a world of their own in the peaceful and quiet little town they always loved.
Maxine was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Deke; brother, Donald “Joe” Rensch; and sister, Edith Rolfes. Survivors include her daughter, Cheri Ure (Joe Healy); son, Jim Ure; grandchildren, James Healy and Danielle Olson; sisters-in-law, Georgia (Joe) Rensch and Jan (Bill) Squires; brother-in-law, Hap (Edie) Rolfes; numerous nieces and nephews; other relatives and friends.
Slininger-Schroeder Funeral Home, Jefferson, 515-386-2171.