Ellen ‘Maxine’ Mayhew McDermott was born at her grandparents home near Las Animas, Colorado to James and Florence Poquette Mayhew on January 21, 1916. She grew up in Lamar Colorado on the grounds of the American Beet Sugar Company where her father was the agriculturist. She attended Colorado State College A & M (CSU) from 1934-1938. She was initiated in the Gamma Phi Beta sorority and graduated with a Home Economics degree.
She taught Home Economics and Chemistry in Springfield Colorado from 38-40. She was hired by the Farm Security Administration as a Home Service Supervisor in Burlington and Grand Junction Colorado and worked for them until 1946. In November of ’46, she went to work for Public Service Company of Colorado in the Hospitality House “demonstrating the kitchen magic the modern woman likes so well.” This job she considered her dream job and spoke of it often. In November of 1948, she married Cecil Leo McDermott of Lohrville Iowa. She joined him in the McDermott & Son Hardware & Implement Business. In March of 1957 they were blessed with a daughter, Lori Le. Due to her husband Cec’s failing health he urged her to go back to school and renew her teaching certificate. In the late 60’s she was hired on as the Home Economics teacher in Lohrville. After Cecil’s death in 1971, she and her daughter moved back to Colorado in 1972 to be near family. She then went to work with Western Federal Savings and Loan as a banking consultant and later became a branch supervisor in Ft. Collins where she worked until retiring in 1982. While in Ft. Collins, she was involved in the Gamma Phi Beta Tau chapter alumni, Soroptimist, and the newcomers groups where she made many friends.
In 1995 she decided that she was missing out on her grandson Brad Johnson’s activities and moved to Casper, Wyoming. She enjoyed traveling with her long lost high school friend Gene Cole, doing needlework with the Casper Needle Guild, scrapbooking, and writing her life history. She was a lover of poetry as she always was saving poems that spoke to her.
She passed away on July 22, 2014 at Life Care Center of Casper. She is survived by her daughter, Lori M Johnson (Philip); Grandson, Bradley D Johnson(Kasey); stepgrandsons Jeromy Johnson (Shannon), Scott McDermott(Margaret); Jay McDermott, stepgranddaughters, Kari McDermott (Dave Soper), Heidi Besaw(Lonny)McDermott; 2 cousins, 2 nephews, and 2 neices.
She was always a firm believer in the self-reliance of women and so, donations to Gamma Phi Beta Tau Chapter, 12737 E Euclid Dr, Centennial, CO 80111, will be used to further the education of women. Alternatively, donations to the First United Methodist Church of Casper would be appreciated.
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