Maxine Onalee Burnham Gresla was born in Lansing, Michigan on April 30, 1934. She has been a resident of Fairhope, Alabama since June 1993, and died on July 1, 2022. Her summers were spent at their lake house on Torch Lake in Michigan.
Maxine was a graduate of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. While on campus, she belonged to the Bach Choral, Phi Kappa Phi honorary and in 1956, she graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Education with honors. In that same year, she married Richard Gresla who survived her. Through the years she was a member of AAUW, several Welcome Wagon groups, and co-founder of “Citizens for Clean Air” in Muskegon, Michigan. In Fairhope, she was active at the Nix Center, an officer of Fairhope First, severed as a library volunteer, and various committees in Quail Creek. She was a member of St. James Episcopal Church in Fairhope where she was chairman of greeters for 9 years. During the summer she attended St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Elk Rapids, Michigan.
Maxine was an elementary teacher and later a real estate broker. She enjoyed designing and supervising the construction of two of their homes, and extensively remodeled six other homes. She also enjoyed travel, gardening, her book clubs, and meeting people. Music was always a part of her life. She attended the National Music Camp in Interlochen, Michigan, for two of their All-State sessions and was active in choirs beginning in third grade through college. She also sang in a quartet for seven years.
The Greslas lived in ten homes in six states, four of which bordered the Great Lakes. They were also fortunate to live short times in both Scotland and Australia. They traveled extensively on five of the continents. Maxine’s favorite trips were to England and the Holy Land, Transatlantic and European Rivers Cruises.
Maxine was preceded in death by her parents, Jake and Villa Burnham of Bradenton, Florida, Lansing, Michigan, and Torch Lake. She is survived by her husband, Richard Gresla; three sons, Dr. Mark Gresla (Janelle) of Decatur, Indiana, Eric Gresla (Madhu) of Chicago, Illinois, and Dr. Timothy Gresla (Dr. Janiene) of Winchester, Massachusetts; eight grandchildren, Abby Gresla, Jennifer (Robert) Chapa, Ashley (Tom) Huie, Lt. John Michael (Alice) Gresla, Alicia Gresla, Christopher Gresla, Nicholas Gresla, and Kristen Onalee Gresla; three great grandchildren, Noah Huie, Olivia Gresla and Charlotte Chapa.
A memorial concert will be held in the Fall of 2022 (date to be determined) at St. James Episcopal Church in Fairhope with Helen Van Abbema Rogers, organist. The family will receive friends in the Green Room at the church following the concert. Interment will be at a later date in the family plot at Lakeview Cemetery, Torch Lake, Michigan.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the St. James Episcopal Church Concert Fund at https://www.stjamesfairhope.org/online-giving.html or to St. Pauls Episcopal Church, Elk Rapids, Michigan at http://stpaulselkrapids.org/
Condolences for the family may be offered at www.hugheshf.com. Hughes Funeral Home, 26209 Pollard Road, Daphne, AL, is assisting the family.
Maxine was the perfect person to be in charge of greeters at St. James. We don’t think she ever met a stranger. A sweet lady with a wonderful smile and winning personality.
May light eternal shine upon her and give her peace.
Gracious what an incredible lady and couple. She always had the ability to make everyone smile. She will be greatly missed. Peace and comfort to Dick and her family.
Maxine was a wonderful Quail Creek neighbor but she never walked early like Dick and I did so i had to catch up with her later. It was usually at the Art Center. I know she is smiling down on Dick and all of her family.
She was the epitome of “bloom where you are planted.” Maxine was always the happy face at St. James! She lived the celebration of life.
Such a lovely lady. I know she will be missed by all who were fortunate enough to know her. She was very gracious to me
We moved to Quail Creek about the same time as Maxine and Dick. My wife developed a friendship with Maxine, and we benefited by harvesting their tomatoes that first summer when they returned north to avoid the heat! I remember how excited she was as she talked with me about a son’s model trains and placed them on eBay for sale. She will be missed! Best wishes to Dick and the rest of the family.