If you visit Oakmont Sterling, there’s a good chance that you’ll run into Maxine. An active 86-year-old who loves to stay involved in everything going on in her community, Maxine can usually be found playing cards, calling out “bingo” with a full card, folding newsletters, minding the resident store – even leading exercise classes on Saturday mornings. If there’s an interesting activity about to start or a need for someone to volunteer their time, Maxine is usually the first in line.

A Life Long Michigander

A Michigander through and through, Maxine was born in the small town of Ithica, which sits just about 45 minutes north of Lansing – but she didn’t stay there long. Her family moved from Ithica to Middleton, Middleton to Royal Oak, Royal Oak to Dearborn, and Dearborn up to a town in the Upper Penninsula called Gould City. It was here that she’d graduate from high school before eventually moving back to the Lower Peninsula to land her first job working as a dispatcher for a towing company run by her cousin.

Now just shy of 19, Maxine met and married the love of her life, John, and, after a brief stint working at the now-defunct Federal’s department store, Maxine left the workforce to raise her four children, while John went to at the Dodge Main Plant in Hamtramck.

Back in the Workforce

Her life with John was exciting, taking the young couple around the state as they raised their family continued to grow. When her youngest was a junior in high school, Maxine re-joined the workforce, helping out at a small dress shop in the now trendy neighborhood of Ferndale until the store’s closing a year-or-so later. “I went to work just to see if I could go back to work,” Maxine said. “[I wanted to be ready] In case something happened to my husband because he was now a policeman.”

After her time at the dress shop, Maxine’s Michigan odyssey took her from the hustle and bustle of the suburbs of Detroit to the serene beach atmosphere of Charlevoix, where she and John lived for ten years. Now with nine grandchildren with 11 great-grandchildren on the way, the couple moved to the tip of the Mitten, calling Cheboygan their home until John’s passing six years ago.

An avid reader of romance novels (she likes things that end happily); a passionate fan of country and western music (especially the classics like Don Williams – none of that modern stuff); and a heck of a Euchre player, Maxine finds the close proximity to her daughter, and the worry-free atmosphere of life at Oakmont Sterling rewarding and relaxing.

“[I like] Not having to cook. Not having to clean. I eat my three meals here. Housekeepers make the bed and take the garbage. They do everything for you,” she says. “I love it here. It’s a really nice place.”