Viola Maxine Holley Merry (June 1931 – January 2023)

Viola Maxine Holley Merry (June 1931 – January 2023)

Viola Maxine Holley Merry (known to all as “Maxine”), age 91, passed away on Saturday, January 14, 2023 in Gig Harbor, Washington, after a short illness.
Maxine was born on June 5, 1931 in Wilson, Oklahoma to James Claudie and Gracie Ellen Taylor. James and Ellen Taylor, along with their five children, made the long trip to California in 1936 and settled in Fillmore.
Maxine attended schools in the Fillmore School District through high school; later attending Ventura College and obtaining her AA degree in 1993. Maxine was involved in many clubs during her high school years, including the Art Club, Stage Craft, Ushers Club, Junior and Senior Tri-Y, and Student Council Commissioner of Advertisement. During high school, Maxine started attending Fillmore Presbyterian Church where she met Bernard L. Holley. Maxine later married Bernard on July 21, 1948. They moved to their home on the Holley Ranch on Cliff Avenue, surrounded by orange and avocado trees and the beauty of the San Cayetano Mountain as their backyard view. Bernard and Maxine had four children, Janice, Patrick, Jeanne and Jonathan. During the years while the children were young, Bernard and Maxine took many trailer camping trips and trips to the beach. The family was very involved in the Presbyterian Church (later Fillmore Bible Church) and attended many church activities and participated in Sunday School and other weekday groups there. Bernard and Maxine were married for 43 years until Bernard’s death in 1991 from Parkinson’s Disease.
Maxine loved traveling and traveled to various countries through the years, Greece, Italy, Ireland, just to name a few, keeping photographs and journals from her travels. She also loved traveling to Hawaii. She traveled with groups of people she didn’t know, as well as with friends and family.
Maxine reconnected with Stanley Merry, a family friend and local Fillmore man and they married in 1999. Maxine and Stan did a substantial amount of traveling during their years together, locally, by air and many cruises. Both Stan and Maxine had homes in Fillmore; Stan in the Bardsdale area and Maxine on the Cliff Ave Ranch. Stan and Maxine split their time between the two homes until Stan’s death in 2007.
Maxine was always an avid reader. In her younger years, the gift of choice from her brothers was books! She loved literature of all kinds and read over 230 books in one year a few years ago. She made sure to reach 100 books read in 2022 by finishing a biography of Paul Newman on New Year’s Eve 2022! In addition to her reading, Maxine loved word games in the newspaper, and was always up for a Scrabble game with close friends or family. Maxine was devout in her Christian faith and her reading included religious devotional books and the Bible.
Maxine was quite artistic from a young age and continued her gift of drawing and painting throughout her adult life. Art was one of the classes she thoroughly enjoyed at Ventura College during her studies there and she produced some wonderful artwork during that time. Maxine used her art skills at church where the children would gather up front to listen to her presentation of a short message while creating chalk drawings to go along with the message.
Another skill of Maxine’s was cooking. Maxine cooked for the Rotary Club for many years to the delight of many members of the club! She also cooked for the Lion’s Club and other local organizations and private celebrations when requested. Maxine loved preparing food and inviting friends and family for dinners and also baking and taking food to friends and family, whether needed or not, just because that’s who she was! During her last year, while living in Gig Harbor, WA with her daughter and son-in-law, she got very involved in watching The Great British Bake Off with them and enjoyed that thoroughly.
Maxine loved flowers and maintained roses, annuals and perennials in her yard. She loved seeing the hummingbirds and kept them well fed. Maxine also enjoyed the other wildlife that came to “visit” now and again; deer, coyotes and an occasional bear! She created beautiful flower bouquets to keep in her house, for other people and for the church.
Maxine was a member of the Ventura County Garden Club and the local PEO Chapter in Fillmore for many years. The meetings, outings and friendships were such an important part of Maxine’s life in Fillmore.
In 2022, Maxine made the decision to sell the Cliff Avenue Ranch and move to Gig Harbor, WA to live with her daughter, Jeanne and husband, Robert. Maxine came to enjoy all aspects of the Pacific NW, including the weather! She loved that she could look out any window of the house and see flowers. She continued to keep in close touch with family and friends through e-mail, phone calls and her lovely cards and notes. Maxine enjoyed her time with the WA family (even the resident dog and cats), going on outings to local nurseries, getting acquainted with the local library, going to a live production in Seattle, and trying new restaurant foods.
Maxine was preceded in death by her parents James Claude and Ellen, and her brothers, J.C. and Boyce (“Cotton”) and her sisters, Geneva and Kathy.
Maxine is survived by her children, Janice Holley, Jeanne Gleim (Robert), and Jonathan Holley. Her son, Patrick preceded her in death in 1974. She is also survived by eight grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren, and two great-great grandchildren.
Maxine was dearly loved by all her family, friends and acquaintances and she will be greatly missed.
If you wish to make a memorial contribution, the family suggests they be made to the Ventura County Library (Fillmore branch) or the Fillmore High School Alumni Association.