Maxine Ann Killeaney Amundson, longtime music teacher and choir director, passed away with her family by her side on Sunday morning, April 20, 2014, at the Care Center of the Northfield Retirement Community, at the age of 81. She was born April 17, 1933, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, to Dewey and Edna (Carson) Killeaney.
Survivors include her children: David and wife Jill of Marshall, Marin and husband Dana Graham of Northfield, Daniel and wife Michelle of Dover; 8 grandchildren: Alexa and Aliya Amundson, Scott, Luke and Collin Graham, Carson, Wyatt and Elliott Amundson; other relatives and many friends. Preceded in death by her husband Rev. Earl Amundson and her parents.
Funeral services will be 11:00AM Friday, April 25, 2014, at Bethel Lutheran Church in Northfield with Rev. Tim McDermott officiating. Music will be provided by Rhonda Reece and Dan Kallman. Interment will be 2:00PM Saturday, April 26, 2014, at Zion Lutheran Cemetery in Colton, South Dakota. Pallbearers will be Roger Batalden, David Wille, Topper Theis, Dwayne Cowdin, Don Pavek, and Rod Miller. Honorary pallbearers will be her grandchildren. Visitation will be 4-7PM Thursday, April 24, 2014, at Bethel Lutheran Church. Visitation will continue on Friday at the church one hour prior to the service.
All who sang with Maxine, sang for her, or love to sing are invited to join the Bethel Lutheran Choir in singing an anthem at her funeral service. Please plan to arrive at the church at 10:00AM for a brief rehearsal.
Maxine always considered herself a South Dakota girl. She was raised in Sioux Falls, graduating from Washington High School in 1951. She attended Augustana College, Sioux Falls, singing in the college choir all four years. She graduated in 1955 with majors in music and English. While in college, she was an organist and high school choir director at First Lutheran Church.
She moved to Chicago in 1956 to become music director at United Lutheran Church in Oak Park. She received a master’s degree in music from Northwestern University in 1960. She then returned to Augustana College to teach music education and vocal music. She also directed the chapel choir, women’s choir, madrigal singers, and German round singers.
On July 27, 1963, she married Earl F. Amundson at First Lutheran in Sioux Falls. They moved to St. Paul, where Earl attended Luther Seminary, and Maxine taught music at West Junior High School in Richfield. In 1966, they moved to Margate, Florida, to take a call at Prince of Peace Lutheran. From 1969 to 1973, they served Trinity Lutheran in Brooten, Minnesota. Their next move would be to Lamberton, Minnesota, where they served Our Savior’s Lutheran. She was the organist, choir director, and consummate minister’s wife.
She taught junior high English and eventually K-12 music in the Red Rock Central schools before retiring in June 1997. She was the Lamberton Teacher of the Year in 1988 and again in 1992. She was honored with the WCCO Good Neighbor Award in 1988 and received the Southwest Service Cooperative Educator Recognition Award in 1997. She dearly loved her students.
She was organizer and director of the Lamberton area community choir from 1973-1996. She was an active member of the reading club, serving as president for two terms. She was a member of library board and on the first board of the Lamberton Ambulatory Care Center. She served on the city council for 12 years.
In June 1997, Maxine and Earl moved to Northfield, Minnesota. Together with her daughter, she opened Maxine’s Good Scents, a bath shop in the historic Archer House. She later worked at Kids on Division. She was a member of Bethel Lutheran Church, where she sang with the choir, was choir accompanist for five years, and played in the bell choir. She enjoyed her association with Bethel’s Lydia Circle and Thursday morning bible study group. Along with other Bethel members, she made two trips to Jalapa, Nicaragua through Interfaith Service to Latin America.
In Northfield, she was also an accompanist and assisted director of the Troubadors and proud member of her reading group, the “Book Bags.” In 2007, she moved to the Northfield Retirement Community.
Above all, she loved her family, friends, and home. She was immensely proud of all eight of her grandchildren. Maxine wished for everyone to “always keep singing, especially in your heart.” It was a gift of advice, one of many gifts, to her students, young and old. It was her challenge and promise to them.
Memorials are preferred to Bethel Lutheran Church or the Maxine Killeaney Amundson Endowed Scholarship at Augustana College.
Arrangements are with the Benson & Langehough Funeral Home. www.northfieldfuneral.com