Jul 30, 2009

June Carol Hoag Maples

16 December 1915 - 29 July 2009

I received a call yesterday evening while driving on US-23 that my grandmother's struggle ended. I am saddened by her death, but strangely relieved that she did not have to suffer for weeks.

June Maples was an extraordinary person, and though I am biased, she really was one of those rare people loved by everyone who came into contact with her. For many years she was the organist and choir director at Christ the King Episcopal Church in Taylor, Michigan, and only the onset of macular degeneration could get her to retire about a decade ago.

June was also an avid fan of motorcycles in her younger years, and we grandkids get a kick out of hearing stories of our grandparents tooling around Detroit in the 1930s and 1940s, as though they were precursors to The Wild One. You see, despite their youthful carefree years, my grandparents have been models of consistency, with their 72-year marriage and almost seven decades in the same house.

Grani, as almost everyone called her, was also fond of painting and of a variety of crafts. She and my grandfather loved to golf, and even after her vision started to give out, she continued golfing for some time, saying that "the game is even better when you can't see - every shot might as well be a hole in one."

Her sense of humor was also legendary, and even up until her last days, she would continue to make unexpected jokes that put people at ease during the uncomfortable final visits. I drove up to see my grandfather after I learned of Grani's death, and he chuckled about how they liked to play pranks on each other. He told me about how at their last anniversary he asked if she wanted to go out to dinner at a fancy restaurant. "Sure!" she replied, falling for the bait. "Well, hold on a minute, and I'll call you a cab," Grandpa quipped.

A regular George Burns and Gracie Allen moment, that one.

Grani, you will be missed by many, many people, and I am saddened today as I try to adjust to life without your presence. This blog post only begins to sketch the outlines of your remarkable life, and mere words cannot express the gratitude I feel for being lucky enough to have been born your grandson. Your generosity, kindness, and helpfulness will be especially missed, and I trust that one day I will see you again in the hereafter.

Goodbye, my Grani.


Carol said...


I am so sorry for the loss of your Grani. She sounds like an extraordinary person and a true testament to being a wonderful human being.

She is in a better place now - where she can watch all of you with 20/20 vision.

Celebrate her life.

Middle Aged Woman said...

So sorry, Mike, but it sounds like she had a life well lived. You were lucky to have her. Hold on tight to Grandpa now.

Randy said...

Very sorry for your loss, Mike. I hope that your good memories of your Grandma help to ease some of the pain.

Mad Jack said...


I'm very sorry for your loss. Grani sounds like a great person, especially the part about motorcycle riding with her husband. Grani must have been pretty athletic, as bikes in the 1930s were not an easy ride.

SensorG said...

Sorry for your loss Mike. I lost the last of my grandparents when I was in my early twenties; I envy you for getting to know yours as well you have.

microdot said...

Mike, I just got back from my life in the Middle Ages and read your post.
I never knew any of my grand parents and lost my parents when I was too young.
I'm so glad you had such a chance to have a long relationship with someone as cool as Grani.
Your post was a moving testament to her.

kateb said...

I'm so sorry Mike. You come from a good line, it's plain to see.

Our prayers for comfort for all of her family - and you.


historymike said...


Thank you, and I trust that your assessment of heaven is correct in that our physical infirmities are fixed.

historymike said...


Yes, my grandfather will need extra TLC. He has really seemed lost the last few days.

historymike said...


Thanks - I am lucky to have a ton of memories.

historymike said...


I'll have to write some day in greater depth about my Depression-era biker grandparents (that still sounds weird).

historymike said...


You are correct that I have been blessed with many decades of their wisdom. I only wish I appreciated them more in my teenaged years.

historymike said...


Yes, Grani was indeed cool. She once did shots with my brother at his wedding.

historymike said...

Kate B:

I can only hope to live up to the standards my wonderful grandparents set for me.

mark said...

sorry for your loss, she sounds like a great person.
-Mark Hollyday

Corey said...

Sorry to hear about your loss.

-Corey Hodgson

dr-exmedic said...

My condolences as well.

Debbie G said...

Mike, I am sorry about your loss. My thoughts and prayers will be with you and your family.

clara said...

Having known Granni for so many years shewas such a joy to be with.
We have shared many laughs together.
I feel my life was enriched knowing her. She will certainly be missed by all who knew her. our sympthy is extended to all the family.
May God bless you all during this very sad time.
Wayne and Clara Morey