Maxine McCollum Willingham
September 12, 1928-December 19, 2019
Maxine McCollum Willingham, 91, of Salado, Texas, passed away Thursday, December 19, 2019 after a brief illness.
Maxine was born September 12, 1928, in Childress, Texas, the daughter of Charles “Mac” McCollum and Mary Zelma Bohannon. Her father was engaged in the construction business and her grandfather was a well-known Texas Panhandle merchant.
In the early 1930s her family moved to Lubbock, Texas, partly for the educational opportunities afforded the then young Texas Tech College. In her college years she was the star of the Texas Tech Varsity Show and a contestant in the Miss Lubbock pageant, winning the talent portion in that competition.
She married Welborn “Will” Kiefer Willingham after a campus romance on August 14, 1950. They had both graduated from Tech in 1949, she with a BA in Spanish and he with a degree in sociology. Later, he obtained his doctorate in psychology and began a private practice in psychology. He was a tenured professor emeritus at Tech, upon retiring.
After a stint in the Air Force, the young couple established a long-term residence in Lubbock where they raised three children, Sharon, Doug and Sheila. For most of their up bringing she dedicated her life to their welfare. In 1969, however, facing the “empty nest” syndrome, she opened her first fashion retailing business, “Maxine’s Accent”, where her business grew and prospered for 36 years. She became a leading figure in ladies’ fashion retailing, earning such accolades as Southwestern Retailer of the year.
In later years she and Will built their retirement home in Salado, where their son, Dr. Douglas B. Willingham, had established a dental practice. They enjoyed this home together until Will’s death in 2007. In these years Maxine was active in club work while she continued her retailing business “Maxine’s”, from her home, dressing a number of her West Texas clientele as well as ladies in Bell County. She has been featured in Dallas Apparel News, Fashion Advantage and Salado Creek Living among numerous other publications. In October of this year she celebrated 50 years in fashion retailing at a reception at the Salado home of Doug and Carol Willingham.
She has been listed in Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in American Women for many years.
Maxine is survived by her three children; Sharon Willingham Downing of Hermleigh, Texas; Dr. Douglas B. Willingham of Salado and Sheila Willingham McBeth of Port Charlotte, Florida. She is also survived by five grandchildren, four great-grandchildren and her beloved cat, Rita Hayworth.
She is preceded in death by her parents, her husband and two brothers.
Services will be held Monday, December 23, at 3:00 PM at St. Joseph’s Episcopal Church in Salado, officiated by Rev. Fr. David Scheider, followed by a reception at the home of Dr. and Mrs. Douglas B. Willingham, 9 North Church Street in Salado.
A private burial will be conducted at the Willingham Cemetery in Salado.
Memorials may be made to the Bell County Animal Shelter, 104 South Main Street, Belton, Tx. 76513.
Services are in the care of Broecker Funeral Home, Salado.