Maxine Terrell Walker was born on April 19, 1928, in Akron, Ohio to the late George and Alzona Terrell. One of seven children, Maxine enjoyed her childhood years growing up in Akron. Some of her fondest childhood memories were her mom's cooking, her family having the first record player in the neighborhood, and her family's many trips attending Cleveland Indians baseball games.
As active members of Providence Baptist Church, Maxine and her siblings attended Sunday school on a weekly basis and Maxine participated in many church activities including singing in the youth choir directed by her sister Coetta. In addition to ensuring spiritual guidance, Maxine’s parents were also committed to the education of their children. Maxine often recalled the weekday family ritual of studying with her siblings at the dining room table. On weekends, Maxine and her siblings looked forward to family outings to see the five-cent movie show and enjoy a ten-cent bag of popcorn.
After graduating from West High School in Akron, Maxine was inspired by her older sister Viola to enter the field of nursing. That decision took her to the Harlem School of Nursing in New York where the experience proved to be unforgettable and served as the foundation for Maxine’s long nursing career.
After graduation, Maxine returned to Ohio and worked as a nurse in Cleveland at Metro Hospital and the Veterans Administration Hospital. During this time, she met and began dating her future husband, Harkles Walker. It was Harkles and her older sister Viola who convinced Maxine to head south to Tuskegee, Alabama. Tuskegee Institute (nka, Tuskegee University) was recruiting recent nursing school graduates for a new government sponsored Bachelor of Science Nursing program. This proved to be another memorable period in Maxine's life for two reasons. She was able to spend time with her sister Viola who was on the nursing staff at Tuskegee, and as a nursing student, Maxine was able to participate with other Tuskegee students in the civil rights walk across the Edmund Pettud Bridge in Selma.
After receiving her degree from Tuskegee in 1965, Maxine returned to Cleveland, married Harkles Walker and began a long and satisfying career in community health nursing. She especially enjoyed visiting her homebound patients, and some of them remembered her as the nurse in the Volkswagen Beetle. Maxine’s community health journey included employment with the Visiting Nurse Association, the Collinwood Eldercare Center, Community United Head Start, and the Cuyahoga County Chronic Illness Center where she retired as the Nursing Coordinator. Maxine was a member of the Cleveland Black Nurses Association, Zeta Phi Beta sorority, and Cleveland Tuskegee Alumni Club.
Maxine and Harkles were residents of Warrensville Heights for over twenty-five years where Maxine was a frequent participant in activities of the Warrensville Heights Senior Center. She enjoyed joining other seniors in various activities including trips, games, crafts, and ceramics. As a Warrensville resident, community involvement was also very important to Maxine. She participated in a political campaign, was a senior volunteer for the Warrensville Heights Emergency Response Team, a regular poll worker, census volunteer, and a member of the Warrenville Hts. Friends of the Library. Maxine’s constant involvement in the community eventually led her to receive a Warrensville Heights Volunteer of The Year award.
Maxine along with husband Harkles was a faithful member of Olivet Institutional Baptist Church for over fifty years. She enjoyed serving with various ministries over the years including the Missionary Ministry, Keepers of Faith, Hope, and Heritage, Rose of Sharon, and Produce to the People. Maxine and Harkles enjoyed extensive travel with their Olivet church family and other organizations and Maxine was always ready to share their travel stories.
Affectionately known as Max to friends and Aunt Mac to nieces and nephews, she enjoyed hosting family and friends at their Warrensville Hts. home. She was always the perfect host and as an excellent cook, everyone looked forward to enjoying one of her specialty dishes. Visits always ended with the enjoyment of a group activity or game specially prepared for the occasion by Maxine.
Maxine leaves to cherish the everlasting memories – stepdaughter, Cindy Walker; two stepsons Carlton Walker and Cyrus Walker; grandson, Brandon Walker, Great Grandson, Elijah Walker; four nephews: Dondi Harris (Vivian), Pastor David Harris, William Terrell (Melanie), and; Courtney Calhoun; six nieces: Dianne Harris, Deborah Mason (Kenny), Cynthia Gallegos, Sandra Terrell, Pam Culpepper, Jesse Terrell Jr., and a host of other dearest nephews, nieces, family, and friends.
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