Maxine E. Schnepf

Friday, November 18, 2022

Maxine E Schnepf, 100, of Omaha, Nebraska, formerly of Le Mars, died Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2022, at Parsons House in Omaha.

Maxine Ellen Puetz was born on Jan. 22, 1922, in Liberty Township west of Merrill, to Margaret (Hoss) and John Puetz. She went to St. Joseph School in Le Mars, for five years, boarding at the Sisters of Charity Convent during the week with her two brothers. Her mother, Margaret Puetz, died when Maxine was 9 years old and buried on Jan. 22, 1931, Maxine’s birthday. Maxine and her brothers attended the Country School in Liberty Township after this, getting to school via horse and buggy or walking. Her father married Emma Mary Freking on Oct. 4, 1933. Maxine lived on the farm with her parents and siblings during the most difficult times of the Depression including a 9-month period when the family had only $400 to survive on and plant and harvest crops. Maxine and brother Gene drove a Model A Ford to high school in Merrill, graduating in 1940.

After graduation, Maxine’s family moved to a farm east of Le Mars where she cared for her sick mother and helped remodel the house. This was Maxine’s first home with electricity. From 1942-1945, Maxine worked as a bookkeeper at Veale Lumber Co. in Le Mars.

Maxine met John Schnepf at a Remsen dance. On May 12, 1945, they were married at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Le Mars. John was in the Army Air Force, stationed at Chico, California. They traveled to Chico via trains going through Omaha and on to North Platte where the USO served the service men and women lunch. While in Chico, Maxine did housework in exchange for room and board. Maxine returned early to Le Mars while John continued his military service in California.

In November 1945 they were reunited in Le Mars and in February 1946 rented a farm place which had no electricity or running water. In February 1948, they rented another farm place which had electricity but no indoor plumbing. Ted, Mary and Kay were born there. In February 1953, a farm with 160 acres was purchased south of Le Mars. Ken, Betty and Ann were born there. Indoor plumbing finally came in 1955. They continued farming, purchasing additional acres until retiring in 1992 after 46 years of farming.

Maxine was an excellent seamstress, making clothes for herself and her children. She was a 4-H leader for the America Belles from 1965 to 1976, teaching not only cooking and sewing but also home decorating and furniture refinishing. She was an accomplished cook, with many family recipes and traditions continuing.

She loved crocheting and made many tablecloths, runners, afghans, and Christmas snowflakes. At age 90 she started to crochet scarves to give to family and to charitable organizations. She was still crocheting at 100.

Maxine and John enjoyed traveling and traveled to all 50 states but Delaware, all provinces of Canada, eight European countries, and to Australia and New Zealand. She enjoyed golfing and did so in Le Mars, Florida and Omaha. When she approached a water hazard to cross, she would say “I am going to give this ball a little ginger.” She also enjoyed playing pinochle in both couples and ladies’ groups. She loved to play dominoes and “Kings in the Corner” with family and continued playing until this year.

Maxine moved to Omaha in January of 2011 at age 89. She enjoyed her independent living and celebrated every family gathering with children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren for the next nine years. The Covid pandemic from March 2020 to February 2021, confined her to her assisted living apartment with visits from family, members only through her window or via her video phone. She went to Urbandale for eight weeks to be with family but had to return to Omaha because of health. Her smile and strength were more contagious than the virus that took away more than a year of her life with her family.

On her 100th birthday, Maxine was asked what she thought was the greatest invention in her lifetime. She immediately responded electricity, indoor plumbing, and the automobile. Maxine often said, “What is, IS!” accepting life’s hardships as well as living every day to make the best of life. Her life of 100 years is certainly a celebration of a wonderful life.

She is survived by her six children: Ted Schnepf, Elgin, Illinois, Mary Dickerson (John) Omaha, Nebraska, Kay Schnepf (Patti Berendt) The Villages, Florida, Ken Schnepf (Karen) Omaha, Nebraska, Betty Hanscum, Urbandale, Ann Schnepf, Urbandale; four grandchildren: Matthew (Munawar) Schnepf (New York), Christa (Steven) Cottam (Arizona), Ellie (Matt) Steinbrink (Nebraska), TJ Hanscum (Missouri); six great-grandchildren: Maggie, Owen, Alastair, Livie, Lucy, Graham; and sister-in-law Joanie Schnepf.

Maxine was preceded in death by John, her husband of 69 years; her parents, Margaret Hoss, and John Puetz; stepmother, Emma Mary Freking; brothers Eugene (Marge) and Evon (Ann) Puetz; sister Harriet (Don) Langel; daughter-in-law Sharon Schnepf; and sisters and brother-in-law.

Mass of Christian Burial will be 10:30 a.m., Monday, Nov. 21, at All Saints Catholic Parish – St. Joseph Church in Le Mars. The Rev. Bruce Lawler will celebrate Mass. Interment will follow in Calvary Cemetery in Le Mars. Visitation with the family present will begin at 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 20, at Rexwinkel Funeral Home in Le Mars. There will be a Catholic Daughters of the Americas Rosary at 4:30 p.m. and a scriptural prayer service at 5 p.m.

Visitation will resume from 9:30 a.m. until service time on Monday at the church.

Memorials can be made to the Iowa 4-H Foundation (Plymouth County) or to All Saints Catholic Parish – St. Joseph Church in Le Mars.

Arrangements are with the Rexwinkel Funeral Home in Le Mars.

Expressions of sympathy can be extended to the family through www.rexwinkelfh.com.