Lewiston Tribune, June 4, 2013

Maxine M. Johnstun, 91, Weippe

      Maxine Johnstun passed away Friday, May 31, 2013, at the age of 91.

      Born to Freeman and Ethel Hirtzel Dec. 20, 1921, in Rainer, OR, she was christened Margaret Maxine, but was always called by her middle name, Maxine, until the grandkids came along. Then she was affectionately known as 'Granny' to many.

      After graduating from high school, Maxine enrolled in Oregon College of Education at Monmouth. At college, she was in drama club and the chorus and was named Outstanding Senior woman.

      Maxine married her sweetheart, Jess Johnstun on Dec. 27, 1941. She graduated in the spring of 1942 and returned to Rainier to teach the fourth and seventh grades, while Jess was stationed in the South Pacific during World War II. She taught until they started a family upon his return from the war. They were married 35 years until his death, Dec. 8, 1976.

      In the summer of 1958, Jess and Maxine and five children left Rainier for Weippe and purchased the Ehlinger Sawmill and house. They embraced their new community and became involved with PTA, booster club and all the activities at the schools in Weippe. Maxine always considered herself an advocate for the schools and community. She was instrumental in getting the Gorilla mascot back where she felt it belonged--on the Weippe water tower.

      Maxine contributed to the Clearwater Tribune in her column entitled 'Happenings on the Hill' for about 10 years. She started the job, around 1994, well after retirement age and took her job very seriously, attending town functions and calling to verify facts and details. She donated all of her earnings to community schools and activities, most notably to the band program at Timberline.

      One of Maxine's greatest joys was to participate in the annual Weippe Rodeo Parade. She had many floats featuring her grandchildren and was thrilled and honored to be named Grand Marshall of the parade in 1991.

      With her health declining, Maxine moved off the hill and into assisted living at Brookside Landing and most recently to Clearwater Health and Rehab, both in Orofino.

      Maxine was preceded in death by her husband, Jess, and her oldest son, Jess Johnstun, Jr., and her four siblings. She is survived by her children: Joel (Jolene) Johnstun of Boise, Joyce (Robert) Bowlby of Seattle, WA, Jerry (Nancy) Johnstun of Weippe and Jan (Douglas) Meckley of Hagerstown, MD; her grandchildren: Joel W. Johnstun (Circe Selders) of Chubbuck, Juliet (Matthew) Reece and daughters Ashlyn and Makenna Reece of Ivyland, PA, Lisa Meckley (Tucker Sylvestro) of Boston, MA, Laura Meckley of Hagerstown, MD, Matthew Johstun (Amanda) and son, Jayce of Coeur d'Alene and Kyle Johnstun (Jessica Roberts) and daughter Shylei of Lewiston; and many nieces and nephews.

      A memorial service and celebration of life will be held at 12 p.m. on Saturday, June 8, at the Weippe Community Hall. She will be laid to rest next to her husband in Rainier, OR, on Monday, June 10.

      The family suggests donations to: Weippe Hilltop Heritage Museum, P.O. Box 279, Weippe, ID 83553 or Weippe Community Hall, P.O. Box 351, Weippe, ID 83553.

Transcribed by Michal Berreth-Beck, 2014

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