Friends, family and community members celebrated in grand style the 100th birthday of lifelong Wilmington resident Maxine Summers Kuhns on Sunday, June 5 at Cape May.
Maxine was escorted to the party in a 1920s Model A Ford, nostalgic to her youth, owned and driven by Paul and Linda Eichelberger, following an uptown driving tour cruising hot spots of her younger days.
In attendance were more than 70 guests. Food and cake were served and a collage was on display highlighting moments and events over her lifetime and a banner was displayed outside the venue with pictures of the birthday girl from childhood to the present.
Wilmington Mayor John Stanforth honored Mrs. Kuhns with a key to the city and a distinguished citizen proclamation.
Maxine graduated from WHS in 1934, at the Murphy Theatre. It was the last year before today’s caps and gowns were introduced, and students then wore their own gowns and suits. She recounts the ceremony as having “walked across the Murphy stage to receive her diploma in a long gown of ice blue satin with a Spanish flare, carrying a dozen red roses.”
Maxine was born on a farm outside of Wilmington in Clinton County, to Harold Summers and Jesse Morris Summers, where she went to a one-room schoolhouse in a horse and buggy as a child, before attending Wilmington High School. She attended dances at Samuel Walker’s with her husband-to-be, Virgil Kuhns; they raised four children, and helped nurture and love three grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Maxine was primarily a homemaker and mother, but she also worked for Randall Company and Kursz Kasch.
She sang in church and on the radio, and is said to “have made the best apple pie on the planet,” according to granddaughter Dayna Kocher. “She has seen many changes from the horse and buggy to the space shuttle. She has lived through wars and a depression and laughed and loved though many joys and sorrows in her lifetime. She is certainly well loved by many whose lives she has touched in all her days and she is a fine example of a life well lived and still being lived. Still spirited and a lively conversationalist, Maxine embraces every day.”
“She is a special lady, with her memory, wit and grace yet intact,” Dayna added.
She and her family thank everyone who helped make her special day even more special, whether you sent a card, attended the event, took pictures to share or simply called her up to wish her happy birthday.