In Memoriam: Ruth ‘Maxine’ Holler (1921-2011)
By Susan Johnson
Ruth “Maxine” Holler, long-time musical performer, passed away April 21, 2011, at Premier Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing in Beloit, Wis. (According to newspaper standards, we have listed her birth year, even though Maxine would prefer we kept it secret.)
Born in a small farming community in North Liberty, Ind., on June 17, 1921, the daughter of William and Dora E. Steele, she learned piano at an early age and began performing at age 13. She married Roy Williams on Sept. 28, 1941, in Walkerton, Ind. Roy was a drummer, and they formed a musical jazz quartet and toured the U.S., performing in many dinner clubs and vacation spots such as Las Vegas, Honolulu, Hawaii, and even Weisbaden, Germany.
In 1950, they moved to Benton Harbor, Mich., and began a family. They owned and operated a Studebaker and Mercedes-Benz dealership for eight years. In 1960, as a single parent, Maxine settled in Beloit, Wis., and married Lyle Holler, continuing her career in many well-known dinner clubs in the Wisconsin Dells, Beloit and the Rockford area. For the past 22 years, she performed at The Gun Club with the trio “Maxine & the Maximillions.” Val Eddy was a part of the trio. A master of the vibes and piano, she was recognized at the RAMI Awards in 2001 for her outstanding talents and musical accomplishment. In January 2009, Maxine performed with Mike Williamson & Friends.
She made many friends in the music industry, and was acquainted with notable artists such as Loretta Lynn, Patsy Kline, Al Jarreau and Liberace.
Maxine was a loving, devoted mother, who also loved her pets and all animals. Her hobbies included cooking, gardening, canning and baking for her friends and family. She volunteered her time and talents at the First Methodist Church for many years. She will be remembered for her sense of humor and the kindness and compassion she displayed.
She is survived by her children: M. Carroll Shepherd (James), Jerry R. Williams, Julie A. Holler, all of Beloit, Wis.; grandchildren: Lonny (Patti) Davis of Aledo, Texas; Zac R. Davis of Beloit, Luke M. Williams of Madison, Wis.; and Nicholas Williams of Conway, Ark. Great-grandchildren: Nina and Chloe Davis of Aledo, Texas; Z. Noah Davis of Janesville, Wis. and Dryw C. Starkey-Williams of Kalamazoo, Mich.
She was pre-deceased by her brothers, Clem and Carl Steele and sister Edna.
Arrangements are pending with Rosman, Uehling, Kinzer Funeral Home & Cremation Services in Beloit.
From the April 27-May 3, 2011, issue
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