Maxine Ring Burress, 99
Maxine Ring Burress died peacefully at her home in Stevens Point on Tuesday, March 4, after a full life of 99 years and 5 months. A memorial service will be held at St Paul’s United Methodist Church, 600 N. Wilshire Blvd. Visitation will be at 1:00 pm and service at 2:00 pm on Sunday, March 16, 2014. Maxine was a dedicated wife, mother, teacher, magazine editor, writer, church supporter, and community activist.
Maxine was born in McPherson, KS, on October 2, 1914, to Clarence Lyman and Nellie (Osgood) Ring where she spent her childhood. Her father was a bridge contractor. She was the youngest of four sisters, the rest of whom she outlived. On August 5, 1940, she married Dr. Lee A. Burress Jr. in McPherson. He once said “She was the prettiest girl in Kansas”. Lee preceded her in death in 1993.
Maxine received a BA degree from McPherson College, and a MA degree from the University of Kansas, Lawrence, where she met her future husband. Lee saw her across the room at a party and said that was the woman he wanted to marry. A teacher in elementary school, high school, and college, Maxine was an instructor of English at Wisconsin State University, Stevens Point; College of Emporia, Emporia KS; Kansas State Teachers College at Emporia; and Friends University in Wichita. Her teaching specialty was children’s literature. She has written two as-yet unpublished children’s books describing her early childhood.
Maxine and Lee moved around the country to Kenosha, WI; Birmingham, IA; Lee, IL; Nantucket, MA; and Kansas towns of Mulvane, Winfield, and Emporia. They came to rest in Stevens Point in 1958. Later when Lee took a university position in Teaneck NJ, Maxine became associate editor of Response Magazine for Methodist women, published in New York by the United Methodist Church’s Board of Global Ministries. This is a national periodical for the denominational women’s organization. She truly loved the time she spent with the magazine. Who could believe a small town Kansas girl would love the big city so much?
Maxine and Lee were travelers. They led several semester-abroad groups, usually to England, the Mecca for all English teachers. Maxine was an activist. She was a founding mother for two different local units of the League of Women Voters (Emporia and Stevens Point). She supported the Democratic Party, belonged to the National Council of Teachers of English and was a lifelong Christian pacifist. During the Viet Nam years, on most Saturdays she and Lee and several pacifist friends picketed the Steven Point Post Office to protest the war. She was active in Methodist organizations and caregiving activities, the bell choir, as well as missionary work. She went on excursions to participate in the Border Witness Program assessing needs of immigrants in Texas, and to help build communities in Nicaragua. When her children urged her to run for office, she refused: she said she was a worker and not a boss. In retirement and living just 3 doors down from campus, she took in college coeds as housemates. Many of them remained close to her over the years. She enjoyed reading, scrabble, and deciphering The New York Times crossword.
Survivors include two sons; David Burress and his partner, Juanita Carlson, of Lawrence, KS, Michael and Merry(Liberty) Burress, of Amherst, WI, Three grandchildren; Matthew (Amy) Burress, of Minneapolis, MN, Sarah (Mark) Zakrzebski, of Hawthorne, CA, Catherine (Matt) Kestner, Woodridge, IL, Three stepgrandchildren, Michelle (Steve) Dunn, Antigo, WI, Sarah (Ed) Cole, Mount Sterling,Oh, Nate (Anna) Carlson, Thousand Oaks, CA, along with eight great-grandchildren. In addition, two daughters-in-law, Peggy Burress and Debbie Burress, plus many nieces and nephews.
In addition to her husband, she was preceded in death by a son, Lee Allan Burress III and three sisters.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be made to the local League of Women Voters in Stevens Point.
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