Maxine Duster

August 1939
October 2022


Maxine Duster was a force who managed to work full-time, earn two master's degrees, maintain close relationships with dozens of friends and her five siblings, serve on multiple boards and committees, all while being a wife to Donald, and mother of Michelle, David and Daniel. She was a very generous person who was committed to the Black community--especially children. She was an education activist through teaching and managing programs that focused on education and literacy. She enjoyed having people around and frequently hosted gatherings. Her house was a central location for her and her children’s friends and family members to spend time together. She was also an avid tennis player and an enthusiastic sports fan of tennis, football, basketball, and track. She grew up in the small all-Black freedmen’s town of Pelham, Texas surrounded by family in a nurturing environment that focused on self-sufficiency, education, and pride. Even though she left for Texas Southern University as a teenager, and ultimately settled in Chicago, the town never left her heart. She kept in touch with friends and family through phone calls and cards for every occasion, worked with two cousins to start a tradition of family reunions, and frequently returned for annual homecomings. She enjoyed many forms of music including blues, jazz, and R&B; loved to dance; and was the life of the party--many times the first to jump on the dance floor at weddings or reunions. Although she overcame breast cancer, she ultimately succumbed to Alzheimer’s at age 83. Her laughter, sense of humor, fun-loving personality, commitment to community, and warmth will forever be with all who knew her.

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