Maxine Verneda (nee Speers) was born on May 20, 1935, to Madison and Naomi Speers in Pine Bluff, Arkansas and was the only child born to their union. Maxine attended Cherry Street AME Zion Church in Pine Bluff from infancy until she married and relocated to East Chicago, Indiana after graduation in 1956. She was a faithful and active member sharing her musical gifts there often.
Maxine attended Arkansas AM & N Laboratory School from kindergarten through twelfth grade. Maxine developed a love of music early in life - she sang and played piano in a gospel quartet that travelled across multiple states sharing their ministry of music. She played basketball through high school and retained her enthusiasm for the game throughout her life rooting for “her team” The Chicago Bulls.
Maxine graduated from Arkansas AM&N College (University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff –“UAPB”) with honors earning a Bachelor of Science in Music and Education. Maxine pledged Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated (AKA) Alpha Rho Chapter while studying at UAPB. She enjoyed Greek life and was instrumental in establishing the Eta Kappa Omega Chapter in East Chicago. While studying for her degree, she met Prince Eugene Winbush. They married after graduation and moved to East Chicago, Indiana. To their union one child was born, Prince Eugene Winbush, II.
Maxine began her career in education at Garfield Elementary of East Chicago in 1959 as one of the city’s first African American teachers. She taught at Carrie Gosch Elementary, Washington Elementary, Block Junior High. While teaching her beloved students, Maxine also remained a life-long learner. She earned a Master’s degree in Educational from Indiana University and also a Master’s degree in Education Administration from University of Purdue - Calumet.
After years of educating the young minds of the East Chicago school district and instilling in them the love of the arts, she later went on to be named principal Carrie Gosch Elementary School. As a principal, Maxine mentored her staff and worked with district administration to afford both students and educators additional opportunities. After over 30 years of serving as a trail blazing educator and administrator, she retired from Carrie Gosch, achieving her ultimate goal of principalship.
At a junction on March 7, 1964, Maxine and Glenwood Weaver Cole Sr. were united in holy matrimony and traveled through life with their eyes fixed on their final destination for 34 years until he went home to join the Lord. Maxine and Glenwood worked and worshipped together they traveled the world and served the Lord as a faithful couple.
Although she officially retired in 1993, Maxine remained active in the Northwest Indiana community. She believed that as a servant of God, she was responsible for nurturing those to come and leading by example. As a Women’s Improvement Club member, she spearheaded the annual scholarship cotillion for many years. Maxine was proud to be instrumental in properly introducing scores of young men and women to society.
In addition to serving as a member of The Women’s Improvement Club, she had the pleasure of serving in various organization with friends and mentors including Dr. Otelia Champion and Mrs. Virginia Oliver. These missions and organization include: the Federation of Women, Church Women United of East Chicago, Indiana State Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs, Friends of the Library, and state and local government champaigns. Through these organizations and various others, Maxine worked to change hearts, minds and futures through the grace of God.
While working as an agent of change within her community, Maxine remained committed to serving the Lord and using her musical talents within the church. Throughout her retirement, Maxine sang in the St. Mark AME Zion choir and special guest musician, performing hymns with the full enthusiasm of Christ in her heart. In addition, she served a trustee for St. Mark AME Zion and on the Building Fund Committee. In addition to fellowshipping with her St. Mark family, Maxine also loved to study the bible and share a poignant verse with her loved ones and anyone else who needed a kind word.
Maxine was proceeded in death by her parents Madison and Naomi Speers, her husband Glenwood W. Cole, Sr., her son Glenwood W. Cole, Jr., her daughter Gladys Banks and sister in Christ Eva Mae Williams.
To cherish her memory, she leaves her sons Prince Eugene (Donna) Winbush, II, Donald (Doreen) Cole, Curtis Cole, daughter Cheryl (Daniel) Winbush, grandchildren Alexis Virginia (Gregory) Winbush, Lesley Nicole Winbush, Prince Eugene Winbush, III, Shawn Daniel McAndrews, Patrick Draland, , great-grandchildren Christopher Kendell and Aniyah Skye Pickens, Charles (Tammy) Banks Jr, Bernice Banks, Elaunda Banks, Goddaughter Florence Adelle (Rocco) LaBroi, nieces Glenda Henderson Tucker, Debra “Debbie” Williams, Eugenia Williams, Kimberly (Ezell) Jones, nephew Eugene Felton Williams IV, cousin, Shaley (Montee) Boulware Sr, and a host of loving family and friends.
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