Elly Maxey passed away peacefully on Feb. 23, 2016, in Bozeman, Montana, with her children at her side. Elly was born on Dec. 19, 1933, in Wilhelmshaven, Germany, the daughter of Georg and Sophie Heckroth. Elly grew up in war-torn Germany and was relocated with her family during the Allied bombing of her hometown on the North Sea to Gosfelden, a rural area in the Hesse province of Germany. It was there that she grew to have a love of animals and farm life. After the war, Elly moved back to her home town of Wilhelmshaven and attended trade school where she received training as a Master Beautician and worked as an apprentice for three years. Elly was an athlete, excelling in track and field; and competed in gymnastics and soccer. She loved to dance and listen to band music.
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Elly was married to Egon Langhammer and came to the United States in 1955. She worked hard at her new life in America – becoming a naturalized citizen and starting her career in Chicago's North Shore, despite not knowing the English language. She raised three children, was active in her community, and she loved singing in the church choir. Elly loved America, its people and all that it had to offer.
In 1980 Elly married the love of her life, Wilfred Maxey, and they moved to the beautiful countryside of Brevard, North Carolina, where she retired only to find a new career as a restaurant owner. Elly and Will lived a joyous life until his death in 1992. In 2001 Elly moved to Montana to be closer to her daughter, Heidi, and lived with her in their Bridger Canyon home until 2011 when she moved to Hillcrest Senior Living, Aspen Pointe. Elly very much enjoyed her new home and the many friends whom she came to love and appreciate over the last five years. Those wonderful and caring friendships, along with the love of family, helped sustain Elly over her last days. The family is grateful for the many prayers and kind words of those who loved her as they did.
Elly is preceded in death by her parents, Georg and Sophie (Bartels) Heckroth and husband, Wilfred Maxey. She is survived by daughters, Heidemarie McLoughlin (David) Genter of Manhattan, Montana; Susie (Mark) Bocian of Woodstock, Illinois; son, Eric Langhammer of Missoula, Montana; sister, Gudrun (Ralph) Lustgarten of Glenview, Illinois; sister, Ernie Ricklef of Nordenham, Germany; nephew, Kurt (Chris) Lustgarten of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
A celebration of Elly's life will be held at Aspen Pointe on Wednesday, March 2 at 2 p.m.
Elly was a lifelong lover of wildlife, especially birds and marveled particularly at the Bluebirds in Montana. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations be made in her name to the Sacajawea Audubon Society, P.O. Box 1711, Bozeman, MT 59771, where a Memorial Bluebird Trail is being established in her name.
Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service www.dokkennelson.com
Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service
113 South Willson Avenue
Bozeman, MT 59715
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle from Feb. 26 to Feb. 28, 2016