Obituary: Maxine June Rather
June 18, 1929 – August 23, 2021
It is with a heavy heart we announce that Maxine June Rather passed away quietly at her home in Basalt on Monday, August 23, 2021. Her daughter, Linda, was lovingly at her mother’s side until the moment of her passing.
Born June 18, 1929 in Durango Colorado, Maxine was the youngest of nine children. She spent her early years on the family ranch where she learned how to make a living off from the land. There were many hours on horseback going to and from school, moving cattle, and taking tourists, (“Dudes”) on camping trips into the San Juan Mountains.
Gardening, canning, cooking and quilting, she mastered all these skills to become a devoted mother and a dedicated wife. She met the man that would become her husband, Ray Rather while attending Fort Lewis College. Their first summer dates were moonlit rides on horseback. Maxine said they rode almost every night. They were married on the first day of spring in 1950 and shared a storybook marriage for the next 69 years. Their first child Linda Kay was born in 1952 and their son Larry Ray arrived in 1955.
Their early attempts at ranching gave way to following construction around Colorado and New Mexico. In the fall of 1960 they arrived in Aspen to rebuild the Castle Creek train trestle into the vehicle bridge that it is today. They so loved the beauty and character of the Aspen area that they decided to set roots. They moved to Basalt in 1963 and through hard work and determination they bought their farm in Emma in 1965. Maxine volunteered at the schools, served as a Cub Scout den mother and was active in her church. For years she worked in a music store in Glenwood Springs where she learned to play the organ. Ray started a construction company and together he and Maxine built their own home. It was in that same home where both Maxine and Ray passed away.
Once her children were raised and Ray’s working career ended they traveled around western America and Canada. Being, “Landlocked Kids”, they were fascinated by the ocean and the environments around it. Maxine was a lover of beauty from the majesty of the mountains to the intricacies of a tiny flower. Vancouver Island, the Redwoods, Yellowstone and Moab were some of Maxine’s favorite places. Neither Maxine nor Ray ever flew in an airplane but they made many a great road trip.
Maxine loved a simple life. To work in her kitchen, hold her grand babies and see beautiful vistas was enough to make her happy.
Small of stature but huge of heart, Maxine brought a happy mood wherever she went. As a compassionate mother, wife and friend she taught love, happiness, goodness and kindness. Always giving and forgiving her angelic nature influenced everyone around her. Maxine was the epitome of grace and grit. She buried her parents and all of her brothers and sisters with a balance of courage and calm. Through the painful final years of her life she remained true to her faith and never complained. She will be duly missed, yet, in her passing may there be a measure of peace that she may reign forever in heaven with family and friends that passed before her.
When her husband passed in 2019 the only thing she wanted was for everyone to know that he was a really good man. I’m sure Maxine would only wish to be remembered as a really good person. It is enough to be just a really good person.
Maxine is preceded in death by her husband Darwin Ray and her parents; Luther and Cora Wilbourn, and her brothers John, Harold, Clyde, and Lawrence and her sisters Lottie, Ruth, Melva and Francis.
She is survived by her daughter Linda Kay Rather Thompson and son Lawrence, (Larry) Ray Rather.
Her granddaughter Stacey Weyand, her husband Kelly and their sons Colter and Bridger.
Her granddaughter Heather Russell, her children Kody and Jesika and her husband Colby.
Her granddaughter Hanna Rather and her children Adaline and Will.
Her grandson Jesse Ray Rather.
Her grandson Evan Rather his wife Claire and their children Beverly and Henry.
The entire family wishes to thank the doctors, nurses, caregivers and friends that helped us through Maxine’s final days.
A celebration of Maxine’s life will be held on Saturday, September 11 at 10:30 AM at 2707 Emma Road in Basalt. Everyone is welcome to attend.
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