Maxine Worley contributed to her family and community

Wednesday, May 22, 2013 | 7:19 p.m. CDT; updated 10:49 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, May 22, 2013

COLUMBIA — Maxine Jeanette Frerking Worley was a woman who valued her family, but also valued her community just as much.

Mrs. Worley left her mark in both cities she lived in during her life, Sweet Springs and Laurie, volunteering for various activities as well as owning a V&S variety store.

Mrs. Worley died on Tuesday, May 21, 2013, in Columbia, where she had lived since October 2009. She was 87.

Her daughter, Nancy Thompson, described the impact her mother's kindness had on the people around her.

"Everyone would describe her just as sweet, happy and full of life," Thompson said. "She was always hospitable and never a stranger to anyone."

While living in Sweet Springs, Mrs. Worley started a swimming program through the local Red Cross chapter, giving children ages as young as 5 years old a place to learn how to swim, despite Sweet Springs not having a pool of its own. Mrs. Worley started driving children  24 miles to Marshall, the closest city with a swimming pool. Her program eventually provided a bus that ran to Marshall, and led to Sweet Springs finally getting its own pool for Mrs. Worley's students to swim.

Also while in Sweet Springs, Mrs. Worley owned and operated a V&S variety store, popular with the children of the town because of a wide selection of chocolate candies and fresh popcorn. Thompson said her mother didn't handmake the chocolates, but they still made a lasting impression.

"She had all sorts of chocolate, and you could buy it by the pound like you were at the chocolate factory," she said. "As a kid it was great because you could just put your hand in the jar and grab a handful. But only if your mom owned the store, the other kids couldn't do that."

Mrs. Worley also volunteered at Westlake Area Chamber of Commerce and Sunrise Beach Elementary School after moving to Laurie in 1989.

Thompson grew up working as a lifeguard at her mother's camp but said her best memories come from the time they spent together as a family.

Whether they were at their kitchen table or on their annual two-week vacation to Lake of the Ozarks, Thompson said that Mrs. Worley's cooking was always a highlight for the family.

Thompson described her as an "old time meat and potatoes cook" who specialized in fried chicken or chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes with gravy, and green beans.

Mrs. Worley was born Jan. 11, 1926, to Ralph and Clara Frerking in Higginsville. She attended Sweet Springs High School before moving on toMU, where she graduated with a bachelor's degree in psychology in 1948.

She married Charles Worley on Sept. 30, 1946. He died May 27, 2009.

She is survived by her three children, Charles Worley, Virginia Poehlman, and Thompson, as well as six grandchildren.

Visitation will be at 2 p.m. Saturday at Immanuel Lutheran Church, 110 Main St. in Sweet Springs, followed by a memorial service at 3 p.m.

Any memorial contributions are suggested to go to Immanuel Lutheran Church or the School of Medicine at the University of Missouri. There is also an online register book available for friends and family to sign at

Supervising editor Hannah Wiese.

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