Former Le Mars community leader Maxine Hazel Pitts, 85, died on Wednesday, May 9, 2018, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, after an extended illness. A graveside service will take place at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, June 5, 2018 at Memorial Cemetery in Le Mars. A reception will follow at 10:45 a.m. at the Presbyterian United Church of Christ in Le Mars. The Mauer – Johnson Funeral Home in Le Mars is assisting Maxine’s family with arrangements. Expressions of sympathy may be directed through www.mauerjohnsonfh.com
Born in Summit, SD, Maxine Opperud attended Oregon State University in Corvallis before moving to Minneapolis, MN, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in secondary education from the University of Minnesota in 1956. She then moved to Le Mars and taught high school. There she met Carter Pitts, publisher of the Le Mars Daily Sentinel. They married on July 27, 1957, and had four children, Carol, Pamela, Susan, and Kathryn.
Maxine worked with her husband at the Sentinel for many years. The Iowa Newspaper Association honored her in 2001 by making her a member of the Heritage Club, one of the highest tributes in the industry. Heritage Club membership salutes a lifelong commitment to newspapers and to leadership, service and integrity. Maxine was described at the time as a woman who has likely visited more communities in Iowa than any other.
When the Sentinel was sold in 1986, Maxine spent eight years assisting Carter in his work with the Iowa Newspaper Foundation. The couple also published the Akron Register-Tribune for several years.
Maxine spent 27 years on the Library Board in Le Mars. She served as an elder at the Presbyterian United Church of Christ. She was a member of PEO, TTT, League of Women Voters, Arts Council, and bridge clubs. She worked at the Plymouth County Fair in various capacities, tutored ESL students, and engaged in a host of community service projects.
She is survived by her four daughters, Carol Pitts, Atlanta, GA; Pamela Wilhelm, Chapel Hill, NC; Susan Reel, Bradenton, FL; and Kathryn Hayes, Cedar Rapids, IA; eight grandchildren, and nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband, Carter; her parents, and her brothers and sisters.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a contribution to Care Initiatives Hospice, 3720 Queen Ct. SW, Ste. 9, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404-4735.