Obituary: Maxine Vera Hansvold Colby

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Maxine Vera Hansvold Colby, Malibu artist, gardener, peacemaker and community activist, passed away Feb. 27, following a heart attack earlier in the week and a longer battle with cancer. 

Maxine Vera Hansvold Colby, Malibu artist, gardener, peacemaker and community activist, passed away Feb. 27, following a heart attack earlier in the week and a longer battle with cancer. 

She died in her home, attended by her children, Erin Colby Johnson of Santa Maria, Peter Colby of Malibu and son-in-law Don Johnson. Maxine is survived by grandsons, Matthew and Luke Johnson, many cousins, nieces and nephews, and friends who often crossed the country to spend weeks creating art together in her studio. 

Long active in the Malibu art community, Maxine won prizes for her art and sold a myriad of her paintings and collages in art shows. Maxine was married to Dr. Ken Colby, UCLA professor and researcher, until his death in 2001. 

The youngest of six children, Maxine was born to John and Ida Hansvold on May 15, 1928, on a farm in Litchville, N.D. Maxine moved as a teenager with the family to Sylvana, Wash., where she graduated from Arlington High School. After Everett Community College, she worked in Washington, D.C., for Washington state senator Henry “Scoop” Jackson before moving to California, continuing her work as a secretary until her marriage to Ken and the birth of their children. 

Maxine found inspiration in the beauty of the wide skies and ocean waves surrounding her, and she turned everything she saw into art: collaging, painting, making Ikebana flower arrangements and turning garage sale “finds” into items of beauty. She was also a cook and gardener, while keeping up with national and local news and on the lives of those she loved, reading stacks of books and also tending to her neighbors. 

“She will be sorely missed for all the love she lavished on those who knew her, her generosity and warmth, her laughter and sense of whimsy, and for her wisdom and care, which live on in the hearts and minds of her children and grandchildren, and in all of those who were so well-loved by her,” a loved one said.