Grandma's high school graduation picture
Virginia Maxine Bunce Lutz was born on December 30 in the year 1923, and she entered into God’s eternal kingdom on Tuesday, January 15, 2008. She was preceded in death by her parents Esther Giroud and William Bunce, her husband Harold Lutz, her step-brother Frank and her sister Norma.
Maxine was born in the city of Indianapolis and lived in the city for much of her life. She graduated from Arsenal Tech High School as one of the top ten students in her class. Not liking her given name Virginia she preferred to go by her middle name Maxine. At age 13 she met her future husband, Harold, thanks to her father. Her father William was a milkman and he often employed young men to be helpers on his milk route. This was beneficial not only to Maxine but also one of her sisters as they both married milk route helpers. Harold and Maxine became high school sweethearts and married on January 31, 1942. Harold gave her the nickname “Mac” and that caught on with family and friends. They were married for 50 years, until Harold passed away from cancer in 1992.
Early on Maxine or “Mac” was employed by the Indianapolis Police Department and Commercial Motor Freight. In both positions she worked in the office. But after her children Bob, Darlene and David were born, Mac focused her energy on being a housewife and mother. She also did some in home child care. Mac never drove. Her first time behind the wheel convinced her otherwise. She nearly went over a bridge and decided to leave the driving to others. But this was not a problem for her, as she was a homebody and preferred to spend her time at home caring for the needs of her family and friends. She was a member of Morris Street Methodist Church, and her three children were all baptized on the same Sunday.
Maxine had a flair for organization that touched every aspect of her life. Having grown up during the Depression Era, she understood the importance of stretching every dollar. She had a knack for household finances and would keep a monthly budget in a rubber-banded Sucrets tin. She had a pay as you go attitude about spending, and sought various ways to save money, including taking advantage of sales to stock up on necessary items. Mac was particular about her shopping. If she sent one of the children to pick up something for her, they better be sure to pick up the correct brand and the right size. If not, they could anticipate having to go back to make an exchange. Dented cans weren’t an issue for her. If it was the brand she wanted, she’d buy it anyway, and save a few cents on the dented can.
Mac also had a passion for cutting and saving coupons, not only for herself but also for others. She was a pro at saving Stokely Van-Camp labels and green stamps. In time she collected enough for a Radio Flyer Wagon and a child-sized wooden rocking chair for each of her grandchildren.
Her great talent for organization carried over into her daily routine. Mondays and Thursdays were wash days. Tuesdays and Fridays were spent ironing. Her children told me that Mac was passionate about ironing. Everything got ironed – clothes, sheets, you name it. Though she did draw a line at undergarments and socks. Her home was organized. Furniture never moved once Mac had found a spot for it. Even after 35 years in one house, the furniture stayed put.
Mac enjoyed staying current on local events, reading the Indianapolis Star then later in life the Franklin Journal. She would read the paper cover to cover, and that included the classified section. She enjoyed collecting information, and would write notes to herself so she could remember everything she wanted to tell someone. Though she was not an outgoing person, she cared greatly for others. Household chores were always done by noon and her afternoons were usually spent relaxing in the rocker on the front porch. She always had a listening ear for her neighbors, and if it was summertime, she would offer homemade iced tea. She became the repository for all the goings-on in the neighborhood. Nothing seemed to get past her.
Late in life, when she moved into the Masonic Home, the staff called her the psychologist. They felt comfortable going to her for advice or simply to vent their frustrations. They knew she would listen to them and share all their joys and their heartaches. Even without a front porch, she offered a friendly smile and a welcome to all who knew her.
Though her life was very full with taking care of her family, Mac did have some special interests. She loved to feed birds. She enjoying learning about the different types from her bird book and liked to watch them when the came to the house. She also liked to collect dishes. If a family member put on a yard sale, Mac would use some of her savings to purchase the dishes. Though she never seemed to use the dishes she bought, she enjoyed collecting them.
Mac also loved to bake, and when her children came home from school there was always some type of homemade snack waiting for them. When her son Bob worked for Standard grocery, she would take the day old fruit and make fresh cobblers for her family. In the wintertime, homemade hot chocolate was a daily treat. At Christmastime, snicker doodles and sugar cookies were always part of the festivities.
Though she was raised a city girl, Mac had no problem adapting when her mother married a farmer later in life. On Sunday mornings Mac and her husband Harold would drive to her mother’s home to help with the farm work. She picked vegetables and collected eggs. She even learned to kill chickens and pluck their feathers. Mac would take the produce and sell them to her friends in the neighborhood or to Harold’s coworkers. She did this as a service to her mom and step-dad and refused to accept any money for her help.
Though Mac had lots of energy, she was plagued by arthritis much of her adult life, and that limited what she could and could not do. In 1989 she had a double hip replacement surgery. Afterward she feared being stuck in a wheelchair, never being able to walk again. Physical therapy was rough for awhile, until daughter Darlene suggested to the therapists a trick of using smelling salts to keep her going. That worked wonders and soon she was back on her feet again.
Not long after her husband Harold died in 1992, Mac agreed to move to the White Oak Apartments in Edinburgh. She got involved with a ladies group there. This was the first time she had been involved in a group like this, but quickly enjoyed being part of their company. They played cards and bingo and enjoyed regular pot luck dinners. About 10 years later Mac moved into the Masonic home. Her friendliness and love of others quickly drew people to her. And as I said before, she was a friend to both staff and residents while she lived there.
So many things can be said about this wonderful woman. It is easy to see why she was so well-loved by all who knew her. Mac will be remembered for her laughter, her astounding organizational skills, her practicality, her kindness and generosity, and her great love of family. Mac is survived by her children Robert, Darlene and David, her grandchildren Craig, Michelle, Sharon, Laurie, Robin, James, Isaac, Ashley, Brian and Chris, eleven great-grandchildren, her sister Betty Puckett, and her step-brother Bill Giroud. Mac will be greatly missed by her family, her friends, and by all who were blessed by her presence in their lives. But all who have been touched by this special woman can rejoice that she is now at home in God’s heavenly kingdom.
You are missed, Grandma!