Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children

James Browning

stories from the book
by James V. Browning

The Life and Labors of Dr. H. Truman Maxey

Dr. H. Truman Maxey, a pioneer in child care ministry, died August 19, 1998 at the age of 94. Funeral services were held August 22 at Trinity Baptist Church in Oklahoma City. Burial was at Chapel Hill Memorial Gardens in Oklahoma City.

Maxey's ministry to children began in 1935 at the Baptist Orphans Home in Oklahoma City. Known as "Pops" to hundreds of children who lived at the Baptist Children's Home, Dr. Maxey served Oklahoma Baptists 35 years in the child care ministry. He retired in 1970 as the Executive Director of the Department of Child Cre for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.

Born in Indian Territory, near Duncan, Oklahoma, May 2, 1904, Truman Maxey has lived and labored in Oklahoma all of his life, becoming one of the Sooner State’s most distinguished sons.

After completing high school in Lawton, Oklahoma, he earned a BS degree from Oklahoma A&M College in 1926. He entered Union University in Jackson, Tennessee, in order to take New Testament Greek as the protégé of Dr. Charles B. Williams, and while there, he taught and earned a BA degree in 1931.

Returning to Oklahoma, he was called as pastor of First Baptist Church, Forgan, and served there from 1921-33. While in Forgan, he also taught elementary school. Maxey had been licensed and ordained to the ministry by First Baptist Church in Enid, Oklahoma, in 1929. He served as pastor of the First Baptist Church in Carmen, Oklahoma, 1933-1935.

On May 6, 1932, Truman married Alice Horner in the home of Dr. Andrew Potter, who was the pastor of First Baptist Church, Enid.

On January 1, 1935, Truman and Alice Maxey moved with their one-year-old son, Paul, to the Oklahoma Baptist Orphans Home, Oklahoma City. They were joined by son, Henry, on May 12, 1935. A daughter, Barbara, completed the family April 17, 1942. Truman had accepted the position of Associate Superintendent and was now entering a special ministry to dependent and neglected children, many of whom had been orphaned by the loss of one or both parents. One hundred thirty-five children and eight workers populated a forty-acre campus composed of three dormitory-type buildings, utility buildings, horse and cow lots, chicken yards, orchards, and pasture, all of which were located five miles from downtown Oklahoma City.

Later, Truman Maxey became Resident Manager and then Superintendent. In 1956, he became the Executive Director of the Department of Child Care for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. He served in that capacity until retirement from the Department of Child Care in 1970. In 1957, Oklahoma Baptist University awarded H. Truman Maxey the Doctor of Humanities Degree.

For three decades Dr. Maxey stood tall among his peers in the residential group child care profession. He was a founder and charter member of the Southern Baptist Executives of Homes for Children, which was organized during the 1948 Southern Baptist Convention at St. Louis. In 1949 he was inaugurated as the first president of this group, meeting at Jackson, Mississippi. He served as president of the Southwestern Association of Executives of Homes for Children 1956-57. He organized and served very effectively as chairman of the Workshop Planning Committee for the first five Annual Workshops for Personnel of Homes for Children meeting at the University of Texas. This workshop provided much needed training for child care staff coming from eight surrounding states in the Southwest.

Dr. Maxey helped organize the Oklahoma Association for Children’s Institutions and Agencies in the late 50’s. He served as a representative of the State of Oklahoma at the White House Conference on Children and Youth in both 1950 and 1960. In 1969-70 Dr. Maxey served as president of the Oklahoma Health and Welfare Association composed of 1,000 members statewide. From 1961-1974 he was a member, and then chairman, of the Oklahoma State Child Care Advisory Committee that developed regulations, standards, and licensing for day care, foster care, and institutional care of children in Oklahoma.

Retiring from child care in December 1970, Dr. Maxey moved into the Baptist Foundation of Oklahoma office where he served as a consultant for wills and estates. Heaveraged writing 100 wills per year for ten years. In 1980 he became administrative assistant in Personal Trustee Services, retiring from that position on June 1, 1984, which was 53 years after entering the ministry as pastor of First Baptist Church, Forgan.

Having served as a champion of children’s causes for 45 years, Dr. Maxey was chosen by the National Association of Homes for Children to receive their Distinguished Service Award at the organization’s annual meeting in St. Louis in 1985.

Thousands of helpless, hurting children in Oklahoma have found opportunity to grow toward a successful adulthood because of the life and labors of Dr. H. Truman Maxey.

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