CHARLEVOIX — Maxine J. Elzinga passed away peacefully on Aug. 1, 2013, at the age of 88, at Boulder Park Nursing Home in Charlevoix. She was born in Ellsworth on Nov. 1, 1924, the youngest of six children born to James and Jessie (Wassenaar) Elzinga.
In the fall of 1943 after graduating from Ellsworth High School Maxine enrolled in the government’s Cadet Nurse Corps in Traverse City. This program was created by an Act of Congress in the summer of 1943 to address the need for nurses for the war effort. The government provided the young women’s tuition, books and uniforms and gave them $20 a month for living expenses. This was the beginning of Maxine’s long career in the medical field as a nurse.
In April 1945 Maxine enlisted in the WAVES and served in Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C. where she satisfactorily completed a period of training and service on active duty with the United States Navy, World War II through June of 1946. That fall she enrolled in Butterworth Hospital School of Nursing in Grand Rapids, graduating with her R.N. degree in 1949.
After working in the Saginaw Veterans Hospital as an operating room nurse Maxine served as a nurse and First Lieutenant Officer in the U.S. Air Force from 1951 to 1953. From 1954 until 1979 she was employed as a nurse at the Wadsworth Veterans Administration Medical Center in Los Angeles, Calif.
After retiring from her nursing career she moved back to Michigan and Traverse City’s West Bay. She loved her retirement home’s view of the bay, where she enjoyed working in the garden, playing a good game of cards and entertaining family and friends.
Maxine was a member of Central United Methodist Church in Traverse City, a volunteer at Munson Medical Center and a member of the National Association of Federal Employees.