Our family has suffered another terrible loss. On September 2, seven months following the death of her second husband, John’s mother, Maxine Bagley Johnston, died at Harbor Hospice outside Houston. Born March 13, 1920, she looked (and acted) much younger than her 97 years. We mourn our loss, but are comforted to know that she is no longer in pain, and that she is in the company of her Savior and of loved ones who have gone before her.
Maxine was loving, caring, giving and cherished by family and friends alike. She was exuberant, full of life, and always worked tirelessly in church and civic activities. She loved games, and I'm told she also played a mean hand of Bridge. She hosted her Bridge club only a few weeks before her death, and cherished those friendships.
Holidays were always special when Maxine was a part of them. In the twenty-seven years I knew her, I don’t think we missed spending more than a handful of Easters and Christmases together. Worshipping at Christmas Eve services was always a part of our holiday, as was the opening of gifts. Maxine made us feel extra special because each person’s package had the same distinctive ornament year after year. They grew pretty tattered over time, but we always knew the gift inside was chosen with loving care.
Maxine loved beautiful things. She enjoyed dressing up, and made every get-together an occasion for celebration. Her house and yard were always filled with flowers, and she enjoyed watching the many pretty birds that visited her feeders and nested in the hanging baskets on her patio. She was amused by the bunnies and squirrels that cleaned up what the birds didn't eat, and she was fond of the goldfish in her pond that came to the surface to be fed.
A perfect hostess, Maxine loved to entertain. She always made sure guests knew they were welcome and their opinions valued. Maxine raised two devoted children, and she loved her stepson and stepdaughter and their families like her own. To her grandson, Christopher Hightower, step-grandchildren, and great grandchildren, “Mimi” was the very best grandmother ever. As for me, I have been blessed with the two best mothers-in-law on the planet. Maxine was one of them, and life will not be the same without her.
After her passing, we found inside the “secretary” Maxine used for a desk what was clearly a poem that she loved. It was yellow with age and I know it was special because it was not only taped inside the cabinet, but also secured with three nails and a bit of glue. It is titled A Smile and it pretty much sums up Maxine’s personality and her philosophy of life.
Maxine was generous with her smile. We will miss it, but the gift of her love and her memory will always be a part of us.