Maxine C. Wooleyhand, a former Sykesville Town Council member who was a community activist and a member of the Carroll County Democratic Central Committee, died Monday from complications of diabetes at Carroll Hospital Center in Westminster. She was 68.
The daughter of an insurance investigator and a homemaker, the former Maxine Carole Van Horn was born in Baltimore and raised in Carney.
She was a 1961 graduate of Catholic High School and earned an associate's degree in political science from Carroll Community College.
In her youth, she worked for the Little Sisters of the Poor and was a Sunday school leader at St. Ursula Roman Catholic Church in Parkville.
She was married in 1962 to William H. Wooleyhand, a quality control engineer, and settled in Carroll County.
A resident of Sykesville for more than 40 years, Mrs. Wooleyhand was elected to the Sykesville Town Council in 1987 and served one term, which ended in 1991.
In 1993, she ran for Sykesville mayor, losing to Kenneth W. Clark, 177-130. Mr. Clark resigned a year later when he took a job in Terre Haute, Ind., and Mrs. Wooleyhand offered to fill his post until the 1995 municipal election.
"I have always worked hard and have the time and energy the job requires," Mrs. Wooleyhand told The Baltimore Sun at the time.
However, the job of interim mayor went to Jonathan S. Herman, a former two-term councilman and chairman of the town's Planning and Zoning Commission. In his bid for a full term in 1995, Mr. Herman defeated Mrs. Wooleyhand by 51 votes.
"Maxine was a major contributor to the political scene in Sykesville and the Carroll County Democratic Party," Mr. Herman said. "She gave a lot of her time and energy. She focused on Sykesville, and her heart was always in her work. She was a sweet and loving woman, and I was sad to learn of her passing."
In 1998, Mrs. Wooleyhand ran for a Carroll County Commission seat and lost. In her last bid in 2001 to regain her Town Council seat, she lost again, ending her political career.
She had been elected to the Carroll County Democratic Central Committee and served as its president for two years.
"She was a central figure in Carroll County Democratic politics for a long time," said Neil Ridgely, who served on the committee with Mrs. Wooleyhand. "She was very dedicated in getting young people into Democratic politics, and every year she and her husband would buy four tickets for our annual Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner and give them away."
Jackie Jones, chairwoman of the Carroll County Democratic Central Committee, said it wasn't long after she moved to Carroll County that Mrs. Wooleyhand made herself known.
"She was always greeting new people and telling them they had to get involved and be active in the Democratic Party," said Ms. Jones. "It was obvious how much she loved Sykesville and the county."
In recent years, Mrs. Wooleyhand used a wheelchair.
"She wasn't in the best of health, but that didn't stop her. She still came to meetings, even when she wasn't feeling so well," said Ms. Jones. "She cared about everyone else except Maxine."
She said Mrs. Wooleyhand nominated her to the central committee and helped her get elected.
"Maxine always wanted to build the party in the county, and that's what we're going to keep on doing and she'll be our guiding light," Ms. Jones said.
Mrs. Wooleyhand had been appointed to the state Board of Master Electricians, said her husband of 49 years, who survives her.
Mrs. Wooleyhand volunteered with Carroll County Food Sunday and Our Daily Bread. She was a longtime member of the Lakeview Homemakers and the Carroll County Women's Fair.
She was an active communicant of St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church in Sykesville, where she had been a member of the church council and served as a lector and Eucharistic minister.
A memorial Mass was offered Friday at her church.
In addition to her husband, Mrs. Wooleyhand is survived by her four sons, Christopher Wooleyhand of Severn, Eric Wooleyhand of Eldersburg, Shawn Wooleyhand of Sykesville and Mark Wooleyhand of Harrogate, England; and nine grandchildren.