WHEELING — Martha L. Maxson, born March 22, 1946 in Rochelle, died peacefully in her home in Wheeling, Ill., on April 13, 2021. Martha, whom friends and family called “Martie,” was the daughter of Ernest Delos (Cracker) and Florence Maxson.
Martha graduated from Rochelle Township High School in 1964 and went on to get a B.S. in physical education from Western Illinois University in 1969, a master’s in physical education and health from Northern Illinois University in 1978, an English teaching certification from DePaul University in 1988 and an additional 60 master credit hours in an at-risk student curriculum from St. Xavier University in 1993.
Before starting her career as a teacher, Martha saw the world as a flight attendant for United Airlines, where she discovered her passion for travel and world culture. She found a particular love for Paris, a place she visited often throughout her life. She shared this love with her friends and family and introduced them to French culture.
Martha began her teaching career in the Chicago Public Schools. She ultimately had a long career at Buffalo Grove High School where over the years she taught P.E. and health, and coached swimming, volleyball, gymnastics and her favorite, dance. She was the director of the Orchesis Performance Co. for several years.
She taught hundreds of students and instilled in them a passion for performing, something at which she excelled. She also shared that enthusiasm with her nieces and nephew. After her retirement in 2005, Martha continued to share her love of educating and inspiring students by teaching homebound high school students until 2017.
Martha’s busy teaching career never kept her from pursuing other interests. She modeled and was featured in many ads and commercials, including one for Canon Camera. She loved playing the piano, swimming, reading, shopping and going to movies with friends as well as working Chicago Tribune crossword puzzles.
Martha had a zeal for everything she did. She always lit up a room and was a force of nature wherever she was. Her family and friends will remember her fire for life and vibrant spirit. Martha was very active in both her personal and social life and continued to be until Alzheimer’s dementia began to rob her of the ability to do the things she loved. She will be so missed by her many friends and family.
She is survived by her friend and love, James Bernardi; sister, Susan Anderson (Donald Metzger); brother, Joel (Karan) Maxson; nieces, Olivia Metzger (Alexander Dennis) and Sarah Maxson; nephew, Harrison Metzger; three great-nephews; and many cousins and friends.
Plans for a memorial service for family and close friends are pending.
Memorial Contributions can be made to a fund in Martha’s name aiding at-risk students at Buffalo Grove High School. Donations can be made via check (please put “Maxson Fund” in the memo line) and written out to the D214 Education Foundation, mailed to the Foundation at 2121 S. Goebbert Road in Arlington Heights, 60005. Donations also can be made by credit card directly to the fund online at this link: district214educationfoundation.salsalabs.org/maxsonfund.