Maxine Gale, 86, of Boise, Idaho died October 6, 2019 at home of natural causes, leaving behind many broken hearts. A native Idahoan, she was born April 6, 1933 in Wendell to Chester and Lennie Smith. One of six children, her twin brother Max died shortly after birth. The family worked on a farm in Hill City, and in 1944 were able to purchase their own farm in Parma. She yodeled and sang on live radio with her two sisters, played drums in high school, and graduated from Parma High in 1952.
She married Frank DeMark in 1952. At the time, he was serving in the Air Force and stationed in Victorville, California. They later moved to Caldwell where they farmed and began their family. They had two daughters, Vicki and Jacki. The couple divorced in 1956.
Maxine remarried in 1960 to Ricks Gale, and the couple moved to Boise. She and Ricks had three children—Butch, Conni, and Howie. He was union electrician until his retirement. During their marriage, they acquired several rental houses around their neighborhood and were actively involved with all of their neighbors. They were married for 54 years before he passed in 2014.
In 1961, she opened Maxine’s Day Care, which she faithfully operated for 51 years without a single sick or vacation day closure. She had the longest running childcare center in Boise and was featured on TV news as Channel Seven Days Hero. Her children, and many of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren attended the same elementary school near her house, as did many of the children in her daycare. She was the second mom to hundreds of children over the span of her career.
She was an exceptional woman. In 2001 she won the Idaho Gem Award for Innovative Leadership. She could be counted on in times of need, whether it was family, friends, or families in her daycare. If a parent was late picking up their children or couldn’t pay their bill, she would say, “It’s not the little one’s fault.” Every year she had a Christmas party that included 50 or more children—the children currently and previously in her care, neighbors, and family. Each child received a gift and a hug. At Christmastime she played Secret Santa for someone in need. She was an angel, and anyone who gave her a hug could feel the angel wings on her back. She was a blessing from God in the hearts of those who loved her
She did take time to travel and enjoy the hobbies she loved. She traveled to Europe and Mexico to visit her daughter, Jacki. She also visited and traveled to different parts of the country with her daughters and their spouses. Most recently, her daughter, Conni and husband Scott took her to Seattle to see the Mariners play against the Yankees. She was a fan of the Yankees since childhood when she to listened to baseball on the radio with her father.
She was preceded in death by her twin Max, parents Chester and Lennie Smith, her brother and his wife--Kenneth and Dorie Smith, her sisters—Pearle Abbott, Marilyn and husband Jack Slabaugh, LaRayne Blamires, and her husband Ricks.
She is survived by her sons and their spouses—Ricks (Butch) and Kathy of Boise, Howard and Melissa of Meridian, Vicki Gale and Jack Siemsen of Payette, Jacki and Roger Worthy of Payette, and Conni and Scott Poulson of Boise. She left 14 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren, numerous nieces and nephews, and dozens of childcare parents and children who had become part of her extended family.
A celebration of her life is planned for October 11, 2019 at Cloverdale Funeral Home. Please make a donation to Ronald McDonald House Charities of Idaho in lieu of flowers.