Maxine Isabel O’Riordan (nee Hays)
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September 12, 1925 – May 13, 2019
Maxine Isabel O’Riordan passed away peacefully in Red Deer on Monday, May 13, 2019 at the age of 93.
Maxine was born September 12, 1925 at the family’s farmhouse near Amisk, Alberta, the daughter of
Claude McBride and Rita (nee Wilson) Hays. As a child she enjoyed the pioneer life – helping with the harvests and cattle drives and riding ponies to school. Maxine began teaching in 1943 at the age of 17, after six weeks of Normal School. She went back to University to get her teachers’ degree and then went on to teach for 37 years, everything from Grade 1 through Grade 12 to ESL, and finishing the last 20 years as Librarian at the Lindsay Thurber High School in Red Deer. Two summer teacher training projects with the Canadian Teachers’ Federation took her to Zimbabwe and St. Vincent. Throughout her lifetime, Maxine was an avid volunteer at many community organizations, including the Red Deer River Naturalists, Sunnybrook United Church, the Liberal Party, the Women's Shelter, and the Alberta Land Stewardship Program. Maxine and her friend Fred Schutz explored the back roads of Alberta, discovering birds and wildflowers, hiking, canoeing, cross country skiing. They bought a motorhome to camp in the mountains, prairies, badlands and desert. When Fred stopped driving due to his failing eyesight, Maxine took over the steering wheel and we were all amazed Fred lived to be 98 years old, passing away only six weeks before Maxine. Maxine’s travels focused on learning about cultures, history, and the natural world. She hiked the high alpine passes, skied to back-country lodges, and paddled wilderness routes with daughter Diane’s mountain-loving friends. She travelled to China with the Canadian Teachers Federation when the country was first opened to visitors. She learned about many new species on a serious birdwatching tour of Costa Rica. She experienced a safari In Tanzania and saw wildebeest migrating in the thousands. She slipped through a difficult border into Kenya to stay at Tree Tops. She flew over the Himalayas for a clear view of Mount Everest, sighted a Bengal tiger, toured the Taj Mahal, and rowed on the Ganges River. She stayed in monasteries and studied architecture in Spain. She heard silkworms crunching, visited the Blue Mosque, and saw ancient cave dwellings in Turkey. She circumnavigated Iceland and the Orkney Islands. She saw the Panama Canal from a deck chair, long past when most people had settled into their rocking chairs at home. She followed Betty Jean’s family around the world to their postings with External Affairs in Sri Lanka, England, Costa Rica, Hungary, Poland, Sweden, and Italy. Maxine will be lovingly remembered by her daughters; Betty Jean, Joan and Diane; her grandchildren, Sarah and Brian Culley and Brett and Stephanie Watson and their families; numerous nieces and nephews and their families; and by many friends. Maxine was pre-deceased by her siblings, Bill, Mary and Roy and by her long-time fellow travel companion and bird watcher, Fred Schutz. Maxine was happy to say the traditional family grace at the recent wedding of Brett and Jess and to meet the next generation, Grayson. She will be sadly missed at the upcoming wedding of Brian and his fiance Margaret Rodgers. Maxine will be remembered for her playful and imaginative bonds with the generations of children in her family. She loved to go for rambles and children in her company always came home happy, dirty and with a connection to nature. After a private cremation, Maxine will be interred at the Bethany Cemetery in Amisk, Alberta. There will be a celebration of life for Maxine on Monday, May 20 at 12:00 noon at the Revera Seniors’ Residence, 10 Inglewood Drive, Red Deer. Condolences can be forwarded to www.parklandfuneralhome.com In keeping with Maxine’s wishes, we ask that there be no floral tributes or memorial donations. In her memory, please take a walk in the woods and listen to the song birds!