Maxine Hand Gibbany, 101, passed away peacefully in her sleep at her home in Napa after a rich life full of family, a career in education and an abiding zest for living and learning. Born on January 31, 1920, in Devol, Oklahoma, she and her twin sister were the last of eight children of Benjamin Franklin Odom and Rebecca (Larkie) Erzula Yeager. She and her twin sister Kaye were always called upon to be the entertainment at any school functions. The Odom twins combined piano and singing duets with dancing. In addition, they were star basketball players – playing on the varsity team in their first year in high school.
She was the first in her family to go to college – graduating from Southeastern University in Oklahoma and then being awarded her master’s degree at Midwestern University in Texas. While in college she met and married Alvin Ray Hand, a star football player and writer who shared her interest in a career in education.
They both taught for 13 years in Oklahoma before being recruited to teach in California. They moved to Napa in 1957 with their two sons, Max Hand and Marc Hand. Maxine joined the first faculty group at the newly built Silverado Middle School as a business English and accounting teacher. Alvin Hand was a science teacher at Napa High school, as well as being actively involved in coaching and the 4H. Alvin passed away in 1960.
After Alvin’s death, Maxine earned her second master’s degree in Counseling and soon after accepted a position as Associate Dean of Women at San Jose State. Returning to Napa in 1979 and planning to retire, she couldn’t resist going through the permit process to establish a day care center which she ran before selling for four years.
Maxine remarried in 1983 to Melvin Gibbany, who shared her passion for RV’s and traveling as well as spending time with her two sons and Mel’s two sons and their spouses - Jim and Pat and Jack and Jan -- along with all of their grandkids. Melvin died in 1989.
Maxine continued to have a passion for helping others, learning and doing new things, and being actively involved with the Yountville Community Church, which she joined in 2002. She demonstrated her kindness and concern for others by giving away countless, beautifully sewn Afghan blankets that she made through the years. She not only showed a keen interest in others, but consistently expressed her gratitude for the attention paid to her as well as for all the blessings of her long life.
Maxine is survived by her two sons, Max and Marc, along with six grandkids and nine great grand kids. Donations can be made in her name to the Yountville Community Church, P.O. Box 2713, Yountville, CA. 94599, or online at Gofundme: https://gofund.me/cb05b1aa.
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