Maxine Kritsch

Lyla Maxine (Funk) Kritsch

December 8, 1926 - September 12, 2007

Maxine with friends (l to r: Winnie Thompson, Mary Ketring, Gertie Cox and Georgia Thorpe) in September 2006

Maxine and Clarence with Dr. Brandon Connerly

Lyla Maxine Funk was born to Frank and Etta (Wolford) Funk at their home on a farm three miles west of Winchester, Indiana, on December 8, 1926. It was the same farmstead where Maxine would grow up, be married, and live her entire life except for the final five months. Her sister Jeannette was about seven years old when Maxine was born. In a journal, Maxine wrote of also having a brother who died in childbirth.

Maxine's parents were the developers and owners of the Winchester Speedway race track near their home west of Winchester, and of the recreational campground and lake behind the raceway. They also built and operated one other race track near Dayton, Ohio.

Maxine was educated at the Lincoln Schools two miles west of her family's farm, and she graduated from Lincoln High School in 1944. It was there, or perhaps riding the bus to and from school, that her skill with a yo-yo caught the attention of Clarence Kritsch, a student two years older than Maxine and a resident at the Moorman Orphan's Home on the east side of the Speedway. They dated until Maxine's graduation and then were married at her parents' home on July 8, 1944. Maxine was 17 years old, and Clarence was almost 20. They set up housekeeping in a small house there on the farm, and Clarence was employed farming his father-in-law's ground. With the births of their sons Ben (1946) and Tony (1950), Maxine added "mother" to wife, homemaker, and farming partner on her growing list of responsibilities. After Ben and Tony married and started families of their own, Maxine became the quintessential, beloved grandmother who delighted in and unconditionally loved her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Maxine was virtually unsurpassed as a farm wife and homemaker. For decades, she raised much of the family's food in her gardens, canned and preserved whatever was grown, and served healthy, delicious meals to family and friends at her dining table. She was a skilled seamstress and enjoyed making clothing for herself and others. She chased machinery parts, took meals to the field, helped move machinery around, and managed the home base while the men were away for long hours farming.

At about the time she was married, Maxine and some friends and neighbors formed the Ad-A-Link Club, a group that continued to provide friendship and fellowship to her right up to the time of her death. She and Clarence quickly became respected, valued members of the community. In his book detailing Randolph County history, author Leon Hesser calls Clarence Kritsch "one of the finest men I have ever known," who "married the beautiful daughter of one of the prominent local families." Maxine was a faithful supporter of Winchester's schools and athletic teams, undoubtedly as much from her concern for the kids as for her love of sports.

In October 1949, Maxine and Clarence joined Winchester Friends Meeting, the church Clarence had attended as a youth. Maxine quickly brought her considerable talents and energy to the Meeting's ministries, and over the years she was fully involved in service and leadership in nearly every aspect of church life. She and Clarence consistently provided special encouragement and nurture to the church's pastoral families. They hosted and led youth group activities, took leadership roles in caring for the meetinghouse and parsonage, and served on most of the Meeting's committees at one time or another. Maxine taught Sunday School at various times, and in the 1950s she was instrumental in establishing a nursery for babies during meetings for worship. When the church basement flooded after an unprecedented deluge in 1987, Maxine and her family were there in hip-waders helping to clean up the mess. Maxine remembered wading into the basement and finding that the cups and bowls had floated out of the kitchen cupboards and were "bobbing on the waves." Maxine participated fully in the United Society of Friends Women, faithfully serving funeral meals to countless bereaved families, taking meals to the sick, sewing items for shipment to overseas missions, and helping conduct endless fundraisers for missions and other good causes. It would be virtually impossible to calculate the number of lives around the world that were touched for good through the work in which Maxine invested herself over the years.

In addition to those extensive involvements, Maxine cared for her parents at home during their declining years. In doing so, she witnessed firsthand the lengthy progression of her father's Parkinson's disease. In middle age, Maxine learned that she suffered from lupus, and later on she was also diagnosed with Parkinson's. She sought treatment, took her medications, and kept on living her busy, active life of serving others as fully as her health allowed.

In her last eighteen months of life, the effects of Maxine's Parkinson's disease became increasingly pronounced, and she became unable to maintain many of the activities she was accustomed to. She resigned herself to a less active life and accepted the progression of her disease, but she also frequently spoke of her hope for stabilization or improvement. In early 2007, she fractured several bones in a fall at home and had to be hospitalized for many weeks. Because of her immobility and the extensive care she needed, Maxine was moved to Randolph Nursing Home in April 2007. Her condition steadily deteriorated, and in May 2007 she began receiving hospice care. Her family faithfully accompanied Maxine every day of her ordeal until she died at age 80 on the evening of September 12, 2007, with her husband, sons, and daughters-in-law at her bedside.

Maxine is survived by Clarence, her husband of 63 years; by her sons and daughters-in-law Ben and Ellene Kritsch, and Tony and Marsha Kritsch; by four grandchildren, six great-grandchildren, and two step great-grandchildren; by her sister Jeannette Durbin of Pompano Beach, Florida; and by many brothers and sisters in Christ at Winchester Friends who were enriched and blessed by Maxine's life and ministries, and who deeply mourn her death.