Pearls In Our Past - Hartford MI A Pictorial History of Hartford Michigan





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Maxine Finkbeiner Sinclair
1926 - 2002
Mother - Teacher - Mentor

     On May 4th, 2002, Hartford lost a good friend and mentor.  Maxine Sinclair was a genuinely loving person who shared her love with everyone she met. She was a courageous woman who carved a worthy path through the world and our community. Although her torch has dimmed in reality, her memory and values will remain a beacon for many years through the lives of her students that she taught and loved, as well as their parents.   
     This photo was taken a couple of years ago and reflects Maxine's exuberant spirit throughout her life.
     The following are special awards she earned and received that will give just a glimpse of who she was.

Hartford Woman Named 
Michigan Mother of Year

April 2, 1984

The Herald-Palladium

    HARTFORD - Maxine Sinclair of Hartford has been chosen as Michigan Mother of the Year for 1984-1985 by the State Mothers Association, winning an award which went to her own mother seven years ago.

    Mrs. Sinclair, of 60980 County Road 681, Hartford, will receive her award in the Detroit suburb of Grosse Pointe on April 27, according to Mrs. Dorothy Haugard, a member of the Hartford United Methodist Women to which Mrs. Sinclair also belongs.  The group was one of her sponsors in the contest.

    Mrs. Sinclair, the wife of John A. Sinclair and the mother of four grown children, was one of about 50 finalist for the ward, Mrs. Haugard said.  Mrs. Sinclair said her own mother, Mrs. Oscar (Marion) Finkbeiner of Middleville, Mich., won the state Mother of the Year award for 1977-78.

    As Michigan Mother of the Year, Mrs. Sinclair will attend Mothers Association state and national conferences, assist with programs and projects on the national and state levels, and assume other responsibilities, according to Mrs. Haugard.

    She said Mrs. Sinclair was nominated for the award by the United Methodist Women, the Hartford Education Association, the Hartford Lions Club and the Progressive Mothers Club.

    Mrs. Sinclair has taught elementary school for 29 years, teaching in Hartford since 1967.  She is currently a fifth-grade teacher at Red Arrow Elementary School. She has also been a member of the HEA for 16 years, serving as president of the teachers' union for two of those years and a board member for 10 years.  She is also an active member of the Hartford United Methodist Church.

    Mr. and Mrs. Sinclair have a daughter, Nancy, 34, who is a sales manager for a broadcasting system in the U.S. Virgin Islands; and three sons; John, 31, a social worker in San Francisco; Thomas, 24, an Honors College student at Michigan State University who plans to enter the Methodist ministry, and Steven, 21, a part-time student at Kalamazoo Valley Community College.

  Maxine Sinclair 

August 31, 1984

    I am fascinated by the drama and beauty of the Olympics, symbolized by the beautiful torch that flames throughout the games.  We, as parents, carry a lighted torch symbolizing our home - the inspiration for great men and women.  Like the torch bearers of Sarajevo, we are amateurs; but we're chosen by God to carry the light for new generations.

    First, our home should be a source of love and warmth for all who share its light...a place where we laugh and cry...share common interests...and where each family member feels accepted and able to share both good and bad.

    Next, the light of our home should illuminate each child; identifying the special talents and attributes that make him a unique person to himself and to the world.  Each child must be accepted as an individual, worthy of love and respect.  When we, as parents, care about him; he will learn to respect himself and value his body and mind as worth of the best.

    Also, our light should illuminate ourselves as guides to emulate.  We teach discipline, proper behavior, and the importance of good choices by:

1. demonstrating

2. expecting

3. and when needed be, enforcing the patterning after our model. Children read what we are much faster than what we say.

     Then, our light should attract and include people of all cultures, socioeconomic backgrounds, varying religious beliefs, and career choices.  The brilliant tapestry of these experiences and beliefs will enrich our children and help them develop an appreciation of differences.  They'll have an opportunity to test and weigh their beliefs and values; developing for themselves a code to live by that will be a bedrock for their lives.

     Our light should bring the best of our culture to our children:  the beauty of nature, pride in our American ideals, good music, the richness of literature - encouraging in them a love of the superb, thus providing a yardstick for their choices.

     Our torch must hold high the light of God's love and understanding - given to each child as he can understand and when he's ready - based on our own prayer, study and public worship.  Many times our own flame will grow dim, and our arms tire of holding it high, but the Great God will stop to refresh and revive us.  His light will give each child their own torch, to give their lives light through every future day and need. And they, in turn, will light the torches of new generations.  Until all the world is aglow!

Keys to Raising Great Men and Women

Philosophy of Parenting

December 6, 1983
Maxine Sinclair

         I've found no "magic formula" for mothering.  My husband, Jack, has been a positive and supportive father, providing a stable home, happy environment, and respected model for our children.

     We've felt a positive self-concept and a firm base of love and understanding was the most important foundation for our children.  We set firm guidelines for behavior and making choices, but tried to allow them to make most of their own decisions.  We honestly and freely discussed issued and problems.  We shared every aspect of our children's developing interests.  People of all ages, social and ethnic backgrounds are geographic origins were welcomed into our home and their friendships enriched their lives.  We encouraged the uniqueness of each child and are proud of their maturation into responsible adults.

     Our faith in God and His daily guidance has given us strength and understanding sufficient for every day with its problems, challenges, and joys.


Information for this web site was gathered from personal interviews, newspaper articles, scrapbooks, personal photo albums, and other documented materials - many available to the public at the Hartford Public Library or Van Buren County Historical Museum.  Please report any typographical errors, updated information, or incorrectly stated information to the webmaster for correction.  Reprinting for personal and instructional purposes is permitted, however, unauthorized commercial reprinting of this information or unauthorized linking to photos-pictures on this site is strictly prohibited without written permission from the webmaster. 

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A Pictorial History of Hartford, Michigan
Emma Thornburg Sefcik,
Competent Secretarial Service
Copyright 2000 - All rights reserved.

Revised: March 20, 2014