Alice Maxine Burkett, 83, of Golden Gate, died at 6:11 p.m. Monday, February 15, 2021, at her residence. Per her request, the body was cremated, and burial will take place later.
Maxine was born on April 15, 1937, in Friendsville, IL to Cecil and Jerldean (Struble) Wood. Maxine was brought up in a sharecropping family living on many farms throughout rural Wabash County. Maxine’s mother died of a brain aneurysm when Maxine was 16 and she played a role looking after her younger siblings, Jessie Mae and Jerry, after their mothers passing. Maxine had been very involved with taking care of many household duties prior to that as her mother was very involved with helping with farm work.
Maxine graduated from Mount Carmel High School, and five days later was wed to Morris Burkett on June 3, 1956, at Lick Prairie in Wabash County. Maxine and Morris were partners in every sense of the word and were married for 58 years when Morris passed after a long battle with cancer.
Maxine had a life full of experiences and varied duties. She taught CPR/First Aid classes through Wabash Valley College for 20+ years. Maxine was also a supervising partner in Burkett’s Band mill, of which she was bookkeeper for 20+ years. Maxine and Morris felt strongly about supporting youth during developmental years and served as relief house parents for Oblong Christian Children’s home during times when new house parents were in search or needed respite. Further, Maxine was very involved in the churches that Morris preached in by teaching Sunday school classes, putting on dinners and vacation Bible School.
Maxine had a creative instinct that was life-long. Maxine loved school and utilized her creative abilities that she developed during that period throughout her life. During school years, Maxine would draw pictures that would be mimeographed for other children in school to color. She would draw chalk pictures of the environment to help visualize what was being discussed in Morris’ sermons in revivals. Maxine was an expert seamstress making many clothes for family members including suits, dresses, and many additional garments. She made many quilts and blankets for family members throughout life. Maxine was also very involved with design and finish of all of Morris’ woodworking projects, of which there were many. She was also a wonderful cook and baker. This is a trait that she has passed on to most of her family.
Maxine was an avid gardener being highly skilled in both vegetable gardening and flower gardening. Maxine and Morris were both very passionate about conservation and utilized many conservation theories on their small farm. Maxine was also an avid reader often discussing how she couldn’t get anything else done after beginning a book. She absorbed anything that she was around and could have an educated conversation about crops, scaling logs, pesticides, fixing old trucks or tractors, livestock, the Bible, history, or how to feed a large family on a budget.
Maxine had a special group of school friends that had slumber parties and did things together often when young. Those friendships continued over half a century as they got together on at least a yearly basis and often more throughout their lives. Later in life, Maxine’s family termed this group the “Cackle Club” for Maxine’s love for chickens. This group took many trips to Branson and often included spouses. These trips and experiences were very valuable to Maxine throughout her life.
Maxine had a motherly instinct that carried throughout life and is survived by five children; Steve Burkett (Peggy) of Jonesboro, Arkansas; Mark Burkett of Golden Gate; Susan Cooper (Rita Noe) of Evansville, Indiana; David Burkett (Sheryl) of San Angelo, Texas; Elaine Lacy (Mike) of Sneads Ferry, North Carolina, six grandchildren and five great grandchildren. She is also survived by one sister Jesse Mae Locke and brother, Jerry Wood.
Maxine was proceeded in death by her husband, Morris, and her parents.
Memorials in memory of Maxine may be made to the Oblong Children’s Home or Oil Belt Christian Camp and will be accepted at Nale’s Funeral Home in Fairfield, which is in charge of arrangements. Online condolences may be made at www.nalesfuneralhome.com.
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