BANGOR AND PRESQUE ISLE - Wilma Maxine Graves, 88, daughter of Earl P. Ware and Madeline H. Blake Ware, died peacefully on May 27, 2016 at the Sylvia Ross Home in Bangor surrounded by loving family. Maxine was born in Bangor, Maine on June 20, 1927. Her mother died soon after Maxine's birth, and she was raised in Passadumkeag, Maine, by her father and stepmother, Pauline Cummings Ware.
Maxine graduated from Lee Academy in 1945 and received her RN degree from Eastern Maine General School of Nursing in Bangor in 1948. She also trained at Boston Lying-In Hospital and Boston Children's Hospital.
She was married to Sidney K. Graves on July 10, 1949 and moved to her husband's home town of Presque Isle where Sid operated the family business, Graves Funeral Home, until 1982. In many ways Maxine was an unofficial partner in the business and was proud to have completed a course of study in the Professional Assistant Program at New England Institute of Applied Arts and Science in Boston.
Maxine raised three children in Presque Isle and was active in the Presque Isle Congregational Church, Beta Sigma Phi Sorority, and many charitable causes. Her home, family and church were at the center of her life. Sid and Maxine lived next to the family business from the early years of their marriage until Sid's retirement, when they moved to nearby Hanson Lake, building a long-desired log home. They moved to Bangor in 1989 to be close to family and some special lifelong friends. Maxine loved to ski with her family, and in later years she and Sid cross-country skied every chance they had. She was an avid reader. Maxine loved the water and surprised her family by teaching herself to water ski at the family camp at Portage Lake. Over the course of her life she knitted hundreds of mittens, hats and sweaters for her family and for those in need. The beauty and order of her home supported her and those around her.
After Sid's death in 2001, Maxine found comfort in her community and built a new life for herself with kind neighbors, friends and family. She continued to be active in the Bangor chapter of Beta Sigma Phi, where she was recently honored for 60 years of membership in the organization. She was a member of All Souls Congregational Church and enjoyed time spent at the Hammond Street Senior Center.
She is survived by her three children and their spouses, Gail and Stephen Gang of Manchester, Massachusetts, Nancy and Daniel McKay of Northeast Harbor, Maine, and Jonathan and Marcia Graves of Windham, Maine, as well as eleven grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.
Maxine will be remembered by her family and friends for her strength and perseverance. She accepted what she was given, and made it work for her and for her family. She remembered every person she met and was a remarkable repository of family history.
A funeral service will be held 3 p.m. Tuesday, May 31, 2016 at Brookings-Smith, 133 Center Street, Bangor, Maine. The family invites relatives and friends to share conversation and refreshments at the Family Reception Center of Brookings-Smith, 163 Center Street, Bangor immediately following the service. There will be a private burial service in Presque Isle. Gifts in memory of Maxine may be made to the Presque Isle Congregational Church, P. O. Box 1787, Presque Isle. Condolences to the family may be expressed at www.BrookingsSmith.com.