Maxine Price will retire for a second time this Friday after nine years with Marlow’s BancFirst, and this time, she plans to stay that way.
“I told them, ‘I’m going to do anything I want to,’” she attested last week.
One of the first items of business on her agenda is a trip to her native Okemah to further a project she has already begun—delving into the genealogical history of her mother’s family. Maxine will be collaborating with her niece as they piece together whatever bits of information they can find to make the Like family’s past come to life.
Then this summer, she will be in Reno, Nevada, with her son Erick and his family as he competes in the USBC’s national bowling championships.
Also on her “bucket list” is something she has wanted to do for a long time now—plant a vegetable garden. She also plans to become more involved in programs at the First Baptist Church, where she is a longtime member, and is considering becoming active once again in the Patio Garden Club.
Maxine will now have more time to pursue her usual interests, like crocheting, sewing and watching television. She enjoys NCIS, QVC, cooking shows, game shows, Dancing with the Stars and the news. She noted that she faces a major quandary on Wednesday nights because of a scheduling conflict for NCIS and QVC’s In the Kitchen with David.
She finds herself switching back-and-forth between the two shows. Retirement won’t help with this problem, but perhaps she will now find more time to watch Leroy Jethro Gibbs and his team in syndication.
BeginningsOn August 6, 1938, World War II hadn’t actually started, but hostilities and unrest were in full sway in certain parts of the world.
However, in the small town of Okemah in central Oklahoma, things were pretty quiet. . .except for the newborn wails of a tiny girl that Faye O. and Frances Opal (Like) Smith would name Frances Maxine. Another daughter and a son would later be welcomed into the family.
Faye Smith was an over-the-road truck driver who delivered military equipment for Douglas Aircraft, which is believed later became Tinker Field, a U.S. Air Force installation. And Frances Smith—well, as Maxine put it, “She was just ‘momma,’ and she did a good job.”
When little Maxine was only 3½, the Smiths moved to Oklahoma City, where she eventually attended Washington Elementary School. Then in 1950, they relocated to Will Rogers Field, an Air Force base in the OKC area at the time, where Faye worked for a contractor out of Will Rogers Field South. Maxine continued her education at Will Rogers Field grade school through eighth grade, then Jackson Junior High and Capitol Hill High School, where she graduated in 1956.
She noted that she still joins a group of about 20 to 25 of her former eighth-grade classmates every other year for a reunion.
“That’s a long time to know a lot of people,” she observed. “We call ourselves ‘the air base kids.’”
At Capitol Hill, journalism was her focus study. Her mom, she said, was “a writer of sorts, and she influenced me to study writing and journalism.” She was on the staff of the school newspaper and served as co-editor of the yearbook.
During her senior year, she met a young man named Fred James (Jim) Price through a mutual friend. Jim was nine years her senior. He worked at an auto parts store and participated in stock car races. In fact, the first stock car race Maxine attended was a demolition derby, and Jim was one of the drivers.
For about a week afterward, Maxine recalled, they traveled the streets of Oklahoma City in the beat-up version of what had once been Jim’s car.
“It broke me in good, I tell you,” she quipped. “The (stock) car circuit was his life.” Jim also took up bowling and passed this interest on to his sons.
After a whirlwind courtship lasting only six months, Jim’s life took on another “first love.” He and Maxine were married on March 6, 1956, in a quiet ceremony at the Central Christian Church in OKC, with only the two of them and her family present. Maxine was still in school, but continued her studies and graduated that spring.
Family tiesMaxine was employed at the John A. Brown Company and continued to work the retail store’s switchboard even after her marriage. She also enrolled in business courses like bookkeeping and computers, and later hired on with an auto agency in Oklahoma City and eventually worked in the accounting department of the Republic Supply Company, a supplier of oilfield equipment.
By 1967, both of her parents were in failing health and she quit to help care for them.
She also had two sons who demanded a good deal of her time and attention, as children are wont to do.
The older son, James Allen, is now 56 and lives in Oklahoma City with his wife, the former Sherry Johnson of Marlow. Allen must have inherited his dad’s love of all things under the hood, because he is a mechanic for the OKC Fire Department.
Erick Ray Price, 51, lives in Marlow. He recently retired after a 28-year stint with the USPS, his entire postal career having been spent at the Marlow post office. Erick and his wife, the former DaWanna Loveless of Marlow, have two children, 27-year-old Cassondra and 24-year-old James, both MHS graduates. Cassondra and James have given Maxine five great-grandchildren.
Pilgrimage to MarlowMaxine’s parents died in 1970; and in late 1972, Jim accepted a position as mechanic for Mangum Chevrolet in Marlow. He arrived in October, and she followed suit in November.
“I hated Marlow; it was a culture shock,” she said, adding that in time, “I got to lovin’ it, and I wouldn’t trade it. Marlow has been very, very good to me.”
Soon after coming to this part of the world, Maxine hired on as posting clerk for the Talley-Walker Clinic and stayed for about a year and a half.
Then in January 1975, she launched a career with the city of Marlow. Although she was hired on a three-month trial basis through an ASCOG program, that “trial” period stretched out to 25 years.
Maxine said she loved working for the city and believes a good deal was accomplished while she was there, including the introduction of computers. She also mentioned the great camaraderie she enjoyed with her fellow-employees.
By the time she left this position, Jim’s chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and other health problems were taking their toll. He broke his hip; but because of these conditions, he was unable to undergo corrective surgery and became completely bedfast, Maxine noted.
Erick and his family moved into his parents’ home to help Maxine care for Jim; and on August 16, 2002, the exhausted former daredevil went home to be with his Lord.
After a few years in Wal-Mart’s accounting department, Maxine went to work for Marlow’s BancFirst as receptionist. For the past nine years, she has been the lovely lady with the pleasant smile who greets customers, and hers has been the cordial voice that callers hear.
“The people at the bank are absolutely wonderful,” Maxine noted. “They’ve been so good to me, and I’ve learned a lot of things.”
This Friday, the bank is hosting a reception honoring Maxine on her retirement.
Whatever the future holds for Maxine, she will definitely remain in her adopted community.
“I’ve just absolutely been blessed by Marlow,” she attested. “Marlow is my family.”