Maxine Amundson

Maxine Amundson

  • Funeral Date: 4/25/14
  • Funeral Time: 11:00 AM
  • Date of Birth: 4/17/33
  • Date of Death: 4/20/14
  • Funeral Location: Bethel Lutheran Church - Northfield

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.


  1. Carol Mattison

    May God’s peace be with all of you. Maxine and I shared many music activities and her use of the phrase “Bloom where you are planted” kept us going through “thick and thin”.
    Carol Mattison

  2. Jim & Sue Imker

    Our deepest sympathy to all of you–no matter our age, it is still hard to loose our parents!! Maxine was quite a lady–always with a smile. God Bless you

  3. Julie Eid Carle

    I am so sorry to hear about Maxine’s passing. She was such a wonderful lady. My thoughts and prayers are coming your way.

  4. Pat Stiles

    My deepest sympathy to all of you. Maxine was such a great supporter to my children. She worked with Marjorie with her voice and made her a great singer. Praise God for her life.

  5. Karla (Heieie) Sorensen

    So sorry to hear of Maxine’s passing. She was a wonderful lady! I knew both Maxine and Earl from their ‘Brooten days’ and I also worked with Maxine at Sanborn/Lamberton school. She was a gem!

  6. Arlene Theis

    Maxine was such a good person. We had many chats on her front porch. Our spathy to the families.

  7. Jennifer Martius Eberhard

    So sorry for your loss. Maxine mention a lot to me. She was my inspiration to be a great singer/ musician. I will never forget her.

  8. Michael Scott

    Prayers of Peace go out to the family. Mrs.A was a very influential person in my life and she will never be forgotten.

  9. Beth Montonye

    Maxine and Earl were a blessing in my life. My condolences to your family.

  10. Greg Dietl

    We are born, we learn, we live and we die. The connections in that journey along the way are what determines who we become and they all have a purpose. I am lucky to have had the opportunity to learn and work with Maxine and will forever have those memories. My deepest sympathy to the family. You are so lucky to have had her so close in your life.

  11. Pam (Willhite) Vogel

    Thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time. Your mother was a great woman! Heaven surely gained a special angel! Please accept our sympathy.

  12. Alan Cheney

    Maxine was a very talented person and dedicated to teaching, particularly music. David, Marin, and Daniel and families, you have my sympathy.

  13. Heather Brand

    Maxine was such a wonderful woman- I have many fond memories of her (and your dad). She will be greatly missed. My sympathies to all of the family.

  14. Peter Dahlen & Mary S Carlsen

    Marin – thank you for allowing us to walk a little of this journey with you. We have relayed the sad news to Rachel. We will be thinking about you, Dana and the boys this week and wish for the most peaceful repose in South Dakota.

  15. Willis Hanson

    Your many friends from your Augustana College Class of 1955 will never forget you, Max. Your friendship, enthusiasm, and talent graced our class. Our sympathy to your family in their loss of your companionship and love in this life, but we all celebrate the life you lived among us.

  16. Robert Solem

    I first met Maxine when we sang together in the Augustana College Choir, directed by Dr. Arnold Running in 1953.

    She was a wonderful person whose powerful, rich voice brought much pleasure to many.

    May God comfort her family and friends during their time of loss.

    Rest in peace, Max!

    Bob Solem

  17. Erik Posz

    My condolences to her family. Maxine was always a very kind and loving woman toward my family and me. I have fond memories of her.

  18. Arlen Foss

    As a freshman at Augustana College, I sang with
    Maxine when she was a sophomore. The director was Dr. Youndahl..
    his last year. I then had the privilege to sing with her under
    Dr. Running. She helped make choir fun, and I learned a lot
    of good vocal rounds and voice “warm ups” My sympathy to
    the family.

  19. Brad Potter

    My sympathy to the family. Maxine was a great teacher and person. I am thankful and blessed to have had her for a teacher.

  20. Darrel Lundby

    I’m thinking of Maxine just now as the Memorial service is happening. As a freshman at Augie seeking to find my place as a new member of the A choir as well as a new student, Maxine was enormously helpful to me. I remember packing in her car along with more others than the car should reasonably occupy and travel to hear other choirs like St. Olaf and Concordia which were singing in reasonable travelling distance from Augie. I think of her often with fond memories. Blessings to her family.

  21. Tim Tengblad

    So many great memories of my internship year in Lamberton. Your Mom was so kind to me. Maxine and Earl were so entertaining together! My favorite memory of your Mom was her up in the choir loft at church making a gesture to Earl while he was preaching that he was talking too long and time to wrap it up!
    God’s peace to you all.

    Tim Tengblad and Doree DuToit

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