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Lois Maxberry, 93

December 17, 2013

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Lois Maxberry, 93, died peacefully on Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013, at Hillcrest Commons in Pittsfield with her daughter, Bette Craig of South Williamstown, at her side.

Born in Stonewall, Okla., on Dec. 12, 1920, daughter of John and Katie Stick Scribner, she grew up on her family's farm near Stonewall with her older brother, Theodore, and sister, Alma, and graduated from Stonewall High School, where she played basketball.

Many currents of American history touched her life. Her mother was a full-blood Chickasaw whose name appears on the Dawes Roll of 1902, a census conducted by the Dawes Commission headed by former U.S. Senator Henry L. Dawes of Pittsfield. The commission was largely responsible for carrying out the aim of the Dawes Act of 1887 to encourage the breakup of Indian tribes and their communally held land and promote the assimilation of Indians into American society. The census was conducted to determine which individuals were accepted as members of the Five Civilized Tribes of Indian Territory so that they could be allotted parcels of land, leaving the rest of Indian land as "surplus" and thus available for white settlement.

Mrs. Maxberry was part of the tail end of the Okie migration to California when she moved there with her husband, Jack Maxberry of Allen, Okla., and infant daughter in 1941. Since the United States was gearing up for World War II, her husband got work in a shipyard in Richmond before he was drafted into the Army. She and her daughter spent the rest of the war years in Oakland, living in a large Victorian mansion that had been cut up into apartments after that Japanese family who owned it had been interned.

She was a "Rosie the Riveter" during the war, working at a defense plant while her husbandís relatives who lived in the same building took care of her daughter.

After World War II and her husband's return from Occupied Japan, they lived in Alameda and San Lorenzo, Calif., before moving to Shafter, Calif., and then back to Oklahoma in 1956. She was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 1962 and struggled with mental illness for the rest of her life, but nature and gardening and animals continued to bring her joy.

She and her husband divorced in 1980 and she moved to Massachusetts in 1998 to be near her daughter, who survives her.

FUNERAL NOTICE — A memorial gathering for Mrs. Maxberry will be held at her daughter's home on May 17, 2014.

Anyone wishing to send a memorial contribution in her name may send it to the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, Berkshire Branch, 333 East Street, Room 417, Pittsfield, MA 01201 or www.namibc.org. For further information: www.flynndagnolifuneralhomes.com.


Recollections & Sympathy For the Family
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