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D: 2019-08-28
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D: 2019-08-17
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6287-67A Street (Taylor Drive)
Red Deer, AB T4P 3V9
Phone: 403-340-4040
Fax: 403-343-3033
Maxine O'Riordan

Maxine Isabel O'Riordan (Hays)

Saturday, September 12th, 1925 - Monday, May 13th, 2019
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Maxine Isabel O’Riordan (nee Hays)
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 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!
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Service Details

  • Service

    Monday, May 20th, 2019 | 12:00pm
    Monday, May 20th, 2019 12:00pm
    Revera Senior's Residence
    10 Inglewood Drive
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Interment

    Bethany Cemetery


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Pat Spruyt (Zinken)

Posted at 05:44pm
So sorry, BettyJean, Joan and Diane to hear of the passing of your mom. I will always remember the wonderful fun we had with her. The picnics, the walks,playing bridge and hearing about all her funny adventures. She had a unique laugh which I will always remember. She definitely lived life to the fullest. Sorry I missed her service as I just found out today. I hope you will find healing in all the memories you shared!🤗💐

Faye Hughes

Posted at 02:44pm
Maxine was the Sunnybrook United Church librarian for many years and she recruited my help with cataloguing books . She was my mentor and I learned the Dewey System from her. I have since become the church librarian and I often think of Maxine when I am doing my work . She was also one of the founding members of the scrabble tournaments that GrammaLink- Africa held as a fund raiser. We met at her house to lay the ground rules and our group held scrabble tournament's at the Golden Circle for eight years and Maxine also played and raised significant monies through pledges. I was pleased to have known her and extend my condolences to your family Faye Hughes

Eileen McKee

Posted at 09:48pm
Betty Jean, your Mom was truly one of the most positive people I have ever met. She always had a smile and a kind word. She must have had a card index in her mind as she could retrieve small incidents from the past. She made the world a better place with her presence and she always spoke with such pride when I asked about you.
Hugs my long ago friend.
Eileen McKee

Phil & Rosella Peters

Posted at 01:14pm
Maxine was one of the most pleasant and interesting clients I have worked for. It was a pleasure to sit down as she would fold her hands in a unique manner and begin to reminisce and relate interesting tales of her many life experiences. Having been a teacher
librarian and world traveler she was pretty well versed on whatever topic came up. Although it has been several years now since we had made contact, thoughts and memories of her often come to mind especially as we drive by the homes she owned and we worked on. Our condolences to the family as you review the bountiful treasure of precious memories she leaves. Phil & Rosella Peters (Phil's Home Construction).

Myrna Christianson

Posted at 12:55pm
A life well lived.
Thankyou for your kindness to me Maxine, although we never officially met. RIP

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