Martha 'Maxine' Klaes

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Martha “Maxine” (Gage) Cornilsen Klaes, age 80, formerly of Guttenberg, passed away Oct. 11, 2021, at Maple Crest Care Center, Fayette. Visitation will be held on Oct. 23, at 9 a.m., at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Elkader, with services beginning at 10 a.m. Interment will be at the Lima Cemetery, Fayette.


She was born May 5, 1941, in rural Wadena, the youngest of eight children to McKinley and Martha (Malary) Gage. Maxine “Max” graduated from Valley High School in 1959. On Aug. 29, 1959, Max married Paul A. Cornilsen, and three children were born to this union. She was a “Jill” of many trades, working at a dry cleaner in Oelwein and dairy farmed outside Luana, as well as on Chicken Ridge outside of Elkader. Max then moved into Elkader where she was matron/radio operator at the Clayton County Jail. In 1972, the family moved to Guttenberg, where she worked at Utah Speaker Factory before getting hired at the Guttenberg Municipal Hospital in the dietary department, where she retired after 25 years of service. Maxine was widowed in 1992, when Paul was killed in a motorcycle accident.  


Max loved reading, sewing, quilting, walking and riding her bike. She was an avid lover of refinishing furniture, reupholstering and caning chairs, and she spent several years working for Jerry Dumke at the Boardroom, where she met and then later married Robert “Bob” Klaes on April 21, 2007. They enjoyed several years together traveling, gardening and canning, spending time with families and loving on their grandkids and great-grandkids. In 2018, due to health reasons, her husband Bob moved into the Guttenberg Care Center Assisted Living facility in Guttenberg and Max moved to a memory care unit at the Maple Crest Manor in Fayette. 


Left to cherish her memory is her son Paul, Jr. (Laverda) of Joplin, Mo., and their children Earl, Andy, Sylvia, Joan, Jason, Karen, Edwin and Diane; her daughters, Jacque Ogbulu of Johnston and her children Ben and Tori; and Jeannie (Emery) Beatty of Elkport and their children Nathan S., Nathan B., Sarah and Brandy; many great-grandchildren; and nieces, nephews and friends.


She is also survived by brothers, Edwin Gage of Wadena and Keith (Wanetta) Gage of Oelwein; and sisters-in-law, Lois Gage of Wadena and Anna Mae Michaels of Oelwein.


Max was preceded in death by her parents; brothers John, James and Duane and sisters Mary Reed and Marjorie Voshell; and second husband Bob.


Thank you to all the employees of Maple Crest Manor Memory Care Unit, Maple Crest Nursing Home and St. Croix Hospice for the great care bestowed upon our Mom Maxine, as well as all those who had a “hand” in her journey. 


Cards can be mailed to the family of Maxine Klaes, c/o Jeannie Beatty, 31286 Granite Ave., Elkport, IA 52044.


In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, St. Croix Hospice of Strawberry Point or the Guttenberg Public Library.


Online condolences may be directed to the family at, under obituaries.

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