OBITUARY

John Carol Maidens

February 6, 1934April 29, 2021

John C. Maidens, age 87, of Williamston, Michigan, passed away on April 29, 2021. He was born February 6, 1934 in Bear Lake, Michigan and was the son of the late William and Leona Maidens. John married the late Delores M. Kubanek on July 16, 1955 at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Manistee, Michigan.

John served in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean Conflict. After John’s release from the Air Force he and Delores spent the rest of their lifetime living in Lansing and then Williamston. John was a civil engineer for MDOT and the Michigan Aeronautics Commission and retired after 25 years of service. He was a long-time builder and farmer and loved to work on his numerous tractors, backhoes, and bulldozers. He loved to hunt and fish. After buying the farm in Williamston he built a grass strip runway that became 89Y Maidens Airport. Through the years there were skydivers, banner towers for the MSU football games, crop dusters, and many airplanes that came in and out of the airport.

John is survived by three daughters and sons in-law, Brenda and Dennis Weatherspoon of Springfield, Ohio, Dawn and Bill Bailey of Morrice, MI, Carol and John Murray of East Lansing, MI, and one son James Maidens of Luttrell, Tennessee. John also has four grandchildren, Kelly Bailey, Kiley Murray, Christopher Murray and Alyssa Murray, and five great-grandchildren, Kaelynn, Anthony, Sophia, Vincent, Charlotte. John is also survived by two sisters, Ruby Bergstrom of Kaleva, MI, Coralie Argue of Brooksville, Florida and several sister-in-laws, numerous nieces and nephews. Visitation will be Thursday, May 6, 2021, at Gorsline-Runciman Funeral Home in Williamston, MI, from 2pm-4pm and 6pm-8pm. A graveside service and burial will be on Saturday May 8, 2021, 11am at Mount Carmel Cemetery in Manistee, MI. The family will be hosting a cookout Saturday afternoon after the graveside service at the family farm, 9965 Ziehm Rd, Bear Lake, MI. All that would like to share stories and enjoy an afternoon at the farm are welcome.

Services

  • Visitation

    Thursday, May 6, 2021

  • Graveside Service

    Saturday, May 8, 2021

Memories

John Carol Maidens

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Chance C

May 17, 2021

I only met John last year when I flew into Maidens Field with a friend to visit her parents. He was incredibly welcoming and told me to come back anytime. We talked for hours about flying, his time working on bombers in the UK and his AF training. He inspired me to keep going despite the challenges I was facing and put in perspective many of the challenges I faced then as a low hour pilot.

Now, as a flight instructor with more experience, I look back and think about how much I learned landing there on his grass patch. I will always think about how important it is to enjoy each opportunity to learn from someone with so much experience and to make the best of each lesson life teaches you.

When I first landed on his strip, I remember I tied down to pieces of farm equipment and found him digging a trench to bury a new electric line. As a fellow farmer, I understood his boundless work ethic. He told me he’d burnt his house down frying a chicken, which I understood he felt was a worthwhile reason to burn a house down. I couldn’t agree more.

I’m saddened to learn about his passing, as I’d looked forward to seeing him again upon my return. I’m glad I met the man who clearly gave much to the world and whose generosity and wisdom will live well beyond his years.

Seth Killian

May 10, 2021

I flew into 89Y many times as a young pilot. John was a kind man with many stories, experiences, and projects! He will be missed.

Win Stebbins

May 7, 2021

I knew John at MDOT when he was in Route Location and then Aeronautics. In 2018 I reconnected with John at his home, to learn his involvement with laying out I-496 thru Lansing (the subject of a Historical Society of Greater Lansing project: Pave the Way). I'm most proud that we Videoed a 45 minute interview of John talking about his involvement in laying out freeways in and around Lansing, especially I-496 and why it is where it is.

John also told me the reason for the unusual (complicated) interchange he designed for I-96 at Cedar/Pennsylvania. When I-96 was being located from Detroit to Ludington, there was talk of the possibility of it becoming a Toll Road, so John laid the interchange out to accommodate a Toll Booth just east of Penn Ave. Wise then, but never built and we are left with the result!

Win Stebbins, MDOT retired after 38 years with MDOT, and proud of each year. in Holt 517 889-5096

Craig Skoczylas

May 6, 2021

John Maidens was my hero. I'd say his stories were priceless, but they were more. When John spoke, he told me his life. I met John through a mutual friend Greg. I had stuff, and John had space. lots of space, a whole airport . John was very proud of his airport. It was near and dear to him. He said it would take eight hours to mow the field. I asked John if I could leave some items on his property. He said that would be okay. I asked if there was anything I could do for him, John replyed no. He didn't want a thing for what I considered to be such a great act of kindness. So, I asked a couple questions and found out John loved fried chicken. I would go to KFC and get a big bucket of chicken and sides. He seemed to love the potatos and gravy most. I would sit down with John he would eat one piece of chicken that would take an hour to eat. I asked, why do you take so long to eat? John replied, I laughed, and thats how Jonn and I would spend time. I would bring KFC and John would share his life stories with me. Oh getting back to eating a leg in an hour. When John was a young boy he had chores to do. Plenty of work to be done on a farm. Dinner time was your time. When dinner was over it was back to work. I don't know how long he took to eat back then but I'd dare to say he was the last to leave the table. John had many friends, some from way back. I had met a few, but they were usally very busy helping John with projects around the Maidens Airport so I didn't get to know them. Friends that hunted on the farm for many years, and others that worked on the travel trailors and one of his new projects, the bulldozer. It needed new tracks. I could go on...I love you & will miss you, Craig

Andy Pridgeon

May 4, 2021

John was an absolute original. We will miss his amazing stories, his willingness to take on incredible tasks, and his genuine love of the outdoors. He definitely lived life on his terms and did things his way. My family is so blessed and thankful to have had John as a friend. We miss him terribly! Love you buddy!! Give Em’ hell!!

Ron Cooper

May 4, 2021

I met John 30 years ago after landing at his house one day and he engaged me in conversation about his life in aviation, and his passion of flying. He just loved it when a plane flew in and stayed for a while hearing the many stories he would share. John will be surely missed. We all must someday take that flight to the West where God is waiting for our final touchdown to change our metal wings for eternal heavens wings. Ron Cooper.

Carrol if you could give me a call. I would appreciate it. 517-223-3233

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY