Rathman, Maxine Dorthy (Finck)

Birth: March 24, 1932

Death: June 19, 2024

Location: Lot 75, Section 7, New Addition

Maxine Rathman Obituary

Maxine D. Rathman

March 24, 1932 – June 19, 2024

Maxine D. Rathman, 92, of Wood River, NE died Wednesday, June 19, 2024 at Good Samaritan Village in Grand Island with family by her side. Services will be 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 22, 2024, at Apfel Funeral Home in Grand Island, with Derek Apfel officiating. Burial will be in Wood River Cemetery, Wood River. Visitation will be an hour prior to the start of the service. Memorials are suggested to the Wood River Foundation and the Hall County Historical Society. Apfel Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. Online condolences may be left at www.apfelfuneralhome.com.

Maxine was born at the farm home in Shelton, NE on March 24, 1932, to Floyd and Pauline (Richards) Finck. She attended school at District #112 (1-7), #32 (8), Shelton High School (9), and graduated from Wood River High School. Upon graduating high school she attended Kearney Nebraska State Teachers College.

On December 24, 1949, she was united in marriage to Merlin H. Rathman at the Methodist Church in Grand Island, Nebraska. They celebrated their 69th wedding anniversary before Merlin’s passing in 2019. The couple made their home on a farm NE of Wood River their entire life where they raised five children.

Maxine humbly referred to herself as a homemaker and historian, however she has left an indelible mark on the history of Hall County and the community of Wood River. In addition to recording her own family history for close to half a century, Maxine has tirelessly worked to preserve the history and heritage of her entire community.

Maxine is a charter member of both the Prairie Pioneer Genealogy Society in Hall County and the Nebraska State Genealogical Society and has been affectionately referred to as the “Wood River Historian” since 1980. In addition to the various and numerous history programs she has given throughout Hall County and especially at Wood River Elementary School over the years, Maxine has had many of her articles appear in numerous publications. She is a featured writer for the Wood River Sunbeam and Shelton Clipper and her column “The Trail They Left Behind, On The Home Front,” reminds her readers of the collective and rich heritage in their community.

For both the community of Wood River and the genealogical community at large, Maxine has dedicated her time and talents. In addition to recording the inscriptions of the tombstones in the Wood River area cemeteries, Maxine has compiled lists of all Wood River area veterans. Her veteran lists include those who served in the War of 1812, Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, and those veterans who have served since. She has also indexed the local newspaper, the Wood River Sunbeam, from 1894 to the present. Maxine was the driving force and served as the Editor of the Wood River Alumni Book. The Alumni Book records the names of the graduates of every class of Wood River High School since 1890 to the most recent graduating class. As a Board Member of the Hall County Historical Society, she was instrumental in the placement of the Nebraska Historical Society marker along Highway 30 to document the original Wood River town site before the entire town was moved three miles to the east to meet the railroad in 1874. Her vast reference files in her home office include invaluable information on surrounding communities in Hall County as well. Maxine has documented the history of surrounding towns and was a contributor for the University of Nebraska Lincoln’s project Virtual Nebraska: Nebraska‚ĶOur Towns and is credited for providing the history for two Hall County communities, Alda and Wood River.

Maxine was without a doubt one of the greatest genealogical gems. Her community of Wood River, the entire county of Hall, and the State of Nebraska are all beneficiaries of her historical preservation efforts. The Prairie Pioneer Genealogical Society was honored to nominate an inspiring and remarkable member, Maxine Rathman as a nominee for the 2016 Nebraska State Genealogical Society Genealogist of the Year.

In addition to this dedicated passion, Maxine was a member of many organizations and clubs such as: Hall County Extension Club Council and Club (40 years), United Methodist Sunday School Teacher (20 years), Worked at the Hall County Election Board and Pulls; Wood River American Legion Auxiliary, Wood River Country Club, Lockland Country Club, Platt-Duetsche, Liederkranz Ladies Cards, Wood River Bridge Marathon Founder, Hall County 4-H Council, Volunteer 4-H Leader (18 years), and Board Member of Leadership Tomorrow.

Maxine enjoyed playing golf, various card games such as bridge and pitch, and supporting her grandchildren by attending numerous activities. She also was an avid Nebraska Husker fan.

Left to cherish her memories are her children: Sherryl (Greg) Gannon of Wood River, Lynette (Gerald) Koelzer of Wood River, Jolene (Bruce) Bergman of Leavenworth, Kansas, LuCinda (Robert) Ostransky of LaRue, Texas, and Doyle (Carrie) Rathman of Wood River; grandchildren//great grandchildren: Ryan & Shanna Gannon of Shelton, NE (Elizabeth, Grant, Ben and Riley); Andrea & Kevin Johnson of Wood River, NE (Allie, Kaitlyn, Lauren and Kasey); Tyler Gannon of Shelton, NE; Kirby & Sunny Koch of Avon, CO; Kris & Anne Koelzer of O’Neill, NE (John & Myla); Lindsey & Reid Stephens of Ridgecrest, CA (Trinity, Charity and Faith); Ashley & Trey Ragno of Corpus Christi, TX (Anthony, Ariana and Avery); Kimberly & Brian Kuhl of Lincoln, NE (Emmet, Callahan, Lennox, & Sloane); John & Ann Ostransky of Ceresco, NE (Shane and Lena); Steve Ostransky of Lincoln, NE (Mack); Kelsey & Adam Maas of Herman, NE (Kate & Ada); Hannah Rathman of Independence, MO; Trey Rathman of Wood River, NE; Aubrey & Derek Nelson of Council Bluffs, IA.

She is also survived by her sisters-in-law: Janice Rathman-Powell, Jan Rathman, Eunetta Schoneberg all of Grand Island, NE, and Emogene Veeder of Hot Springs Village, AR; and numerous nephews and nieces.

Maxine was preceded in death by her parents; husband; brother, Harvey Lester Finck; numerous brothers and sisters-in-law: Elton & Vera Rathman, Delbert Rathman, Jerome Rathman, Sally Finck, Ben Schoneberg, and Robert Veeder; and son-in-law Larry Koch.

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