Our loving mother, grandmother, sister, aunt and cousin, Maxine (Burgett) Hutchens, 83 of Sidney, Nebraska, passed away in her home on Saturday, March 9, 2013, of natural causes.
Maxine was born April 5, 1929, in Bassett, Nebraska, the tenth of thirteen children of Frank and Ethel (Ballenger) Burgett. She grew up in the sand hills of Nebraska and south central South Dakota. She and her family moved around frequently, going wherever her father could find work, but never too far from the sand hills. She would help her father with the farm work: milking, haying and whatever else needed to be done. She also helped her mother with cooking, cleaning and sewing for the whole family.
Maxine graduated from Wood High School in Wood, S.D. In her school career she attended 13 different schools with class sizes ranging from 2 to 3000.
She loved telling stories from her childhood of the stick horse rodeos she and Ruth, Jim, Lyle and Mary would have and the mischief Lyle and Jim would get into. Some of her favorite stories to tell were her mail runs to visit her sister Katherine where she would ride in the sidecar of the mail man’s motorcycle, being the 1st biker babe, and how Lyle raced the Jeep but didn’t get in trouble because her mom reminded her dad that he used to do the same thing with the horses.
Maxine loved discovering her family history. She was very proud that she could trace her ancestors to the first people to settle Manhattan Island. She spent many hours telling her children and grandchildren her family history. She attended family reunions and rarely missed one. We always joked with her that anywhere we went; she knew someone there or was related to someone there.
Maxine met the love of her life, Jim Hutchens while attending high school in Wood. They both played the bass violin. They were married May 18, 1946, in a double wedding ceremony with friends. Maxine and Jim celebrated 58 years of marriage before Jim passed away in 2004. In the early years of their marriage they lived on Jim’s family farm in Wood where they had children James Jr., Royce, Faith Anne and Bob. They then moved to Edgemont, S.D. where they had Harold. In 1962, they moved to Circle, Mont., and owned and operated Frontier Ford and Hutchens Hardware. They also lived in Helena before finally moving to Sidney in 1993.
Maxine loved music. She would tell us of her dad singing and playing the harmonica. As a young married wife, she supported Jim in his musical career with the Buddy Bair Road Band, Jim Sculls Band, Ruth Naaz, Al Hardy, Moe Lockrum, Betty Sorensen, Gilda Buxbaum and the Vaira Band. She missed very few of Jim’s gigs and considered herself the original groupie.
Maxine was an active supporter of Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, doing whatever she could to help them. She was a scout master and a den leader. She was a member of the Order of Eastern Star for 60 plus years. She held many offices, including the honor of Worthy Matron. She was an expert seamstress teaching Vicky and her girls how to sew. She spent many hours sewing clothes for teddy bears, dolls and patching knees and elbows until the time of her death. She was famous for her bear-skin rugs and sock monkeys that each of the grandkids and great grandkids have. She enjoyed canning and baking for her family and friends. Some of her favorite things to make were chokecherry jelly, apple butter, chocolate chip bars, banana bread, apple cobbler and pumpkin pie. Maxine loved traveling and camping. She was always prepared for any trip with a blanket and a cooler full of sandwiches and cookies whether she was going across the state or just to Circle to visit friends.
Maxine was preceded in death by her husband Jim, children Jim Jr., Royce, Faith Anne, her parents and 7 brothers and 2 sisters.
She is survived by sons Bob (Vicky) Hutchens and Harold Hutchens; her siblings Ruth McGee, Jim Burgett and Mary Barry; grandchildren Betsy Sweet, Lacy Hutchens, Darcy (Eric) Sabers, Mel Hutchens, Tracy (Zack) Whitted, Justin Hutchens, Samantha Hutchens, Jessy Hutchens and Riley Hutchens; and great grandchildren Tila, Cooper, Braiden, Marley and Ethan; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.