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Maxine Irene Howard Crites ’42, MAT ’65

A picture of Maxine Howard Crites

Maxine Irene Howard Crites ’42, MAT ’65, July 19, 2011, in Portland. Maxine was sharp, irreverent, outspoken, and enthusiastic—character traits that blossomed during her years at Reed. “You were encouraged to think and have ideas of your own,” she wrote. “I’ve carried that way of thinking into my adult life, trying to see the broader picture and standing up for what I think is right.” A native Portlander, the youngest of five children, she was the only one to graduate from high school. During her time at Reed, she worked as a nurse’s aide, lived in the infirmary, served meals in commons, did laundry for other Reed students, and worked as a maid in Eastmoreland, and, in summer, at Crater Lake Lodge. After earning her BA in sociology, she moved to Roseburg, Oregon, where she did social work. She joined the war effort by enlisting in the navy WAVES and serving as hospital corps woman in San Diego—“one of hundreds, who cared for the estimated 10,000 patients.” In 1946, in Portland, she married grocer Norman B. Crites. Both Maxine and Norman were lifelong members of All Saints Episcopal Church. Following up on a notice in the church bulletin about teaching scholarships, Maxine returned to Reed for graduate work and taught social studies at Franklin High School for 20 years. After that, she volunteered as a case reviewer for children in foster care. Maxine enjoyed local alumni events and traveled to Tuscany in 2004 with her daughter, Melissa, on an alumni-sponsored tour. Johanna Thoeresz ’87 met Maxine on the tour. “I was taken aback by her vim, vigor, and verve. Everyone on the trip who tried to cajole the ‘sweet little old lady’ was quickly put in place by her quick wit and insistence that she never wanted special attention.” Robin Tovey ’97, who visited with Maxine at events on campus, remarked, “Maxine was a formidable lady (and I mean that in the best, most French, way!), and she’ll be greatly missed on a very personal level by many in the Reed community.” Maxine supported the annual fund at Reed every single year after she graduated, for an incredible total of 69 years. Survivors include Melissa and her sons Douglas and Gregory, as well as four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Her husband died in 1992.

Appeared in Reed magazine: December 2011

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