Evelyn Westhoff Maxwell is a registered nurse with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Master’s degree in Mental Health Nursing from the University of Kansas. Her lifelong experiences growing up during the depression years, in marriage and family, general and operating room nursing, nursing instructor at Marymount College, private counseling, group facilitation, board member of Prairie View Mental Health Center, City Commissioner and Mayor, and a broad religious background provide professional and personal insights that she explains in ordinary English easily understood by anyone interested in personal growth. Her individual consultations on basic health patterns are particularly rewarding.
She was strongly influenced by the Christian devotion of her two grandmothers and her churches. She was a member of the board for Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship during college. She is a Certified Lay Speaker for the United Methodist Church and provided worship services for nursing homes, sang without accompaniment and provided the meditation on scripture applicable to the residents fears, hopes and dreams.
She is a lapsed clarinetist having played first chair her senior year of high school, she sang in several girls quartets that took ones in state competitions, and gave up piano lessons after 8th grade. She began singing for groups under her maternal grandmother’s instruction; as a preschooler and continued singing solos for church services throughout her life. She recorded “Songs of My Life” for her children using familiar old hymns. She is writing her biography and has written parts of her family history having an interest in genealogy but little time to devote to it.
She is not athletic but learned to slalom water ski at age 40 after skiing two for several years and still slaloms at every opportunity. She was the oldest woman bicycle competitor in her local Senior Olympics and always brought home the gold. For several years she was and perhaps still is the reigning senior female bicyclist in the Kansas State Senior Olympics.
She is not an artist but has designed and completed a large needlepoint of her maternal grandparents farmstead, dabbled at pottery making, crocheted numerous afghans with and without commercial patterns, embroidered items for use and for decoration, tried and gave up knitting, and painted a few items using wood, decoupage, wax paper, brown paper and oils. She likes to save things, recycle, and reuse things others might see as of little value.
She was honored to be the “first” in a number of activities. First child of her parents. Valedictorian of her county 8th grade exams. Valedictorian of her high school class. First grandchild of her mother’s mother to go to college. First married student admitted to the 5 year Bachelor of Nursing program at University of Kansas, first woman secretary of a local conservative church, one of the first women to stop wearing a hat and to wear slacks to church. First to sing Silent Night in Spanish for her charismatic congregation. First member of her family elected to public office. First member of the family to become a Video Producer for local public access television. (Her sister has credit for first in commercial television.)
Her nursing education in the 50’s had little to offer in mental health: electric shock, insulin shock, experimental Thorazine, hospitalization and observation. In desperate search for self-help she discovered a number of ideas from books that she used and later incorporated into her teaching and writing which culminated in 2007 after 7 years of research in her very down-to-earth, practical, easy to read, how-to book on wholistichealth: “At Eden’s Gate: Whole Health and Well-Being.
In 2010, she began a three research update to “At Eden’s Gate: Whole Health and Well-Being which is now available as an e-book. See it at https://www.amazon.com/At-Edens-Gate-Health-Well-Being/dp/0944996183. Periodically she posts additional information on the blog, evelynmmaxwell.com.