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Francis Maxwell 1923-2017

The Honorable Francis Edgar Maxwell, retired judge of the 20th Judicial Circuit, Nashville, Illinois, died March 21, 2017.

Francis Edgar Maxwell (known to many of his friends as Max) was born on Nov 7, 1923, in Hoyleton, Illinois, to Ruth Edgar Maxwell and Joseph Daniel Maxwell, who was then teaching school in Hoyleton. Francis moved to Nashville after his father was elected County State’s Attorney, and attended public schools in Nashville. 

After graduation, Francis won a scholarship to the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, where he began his studies in 1941. In October 1942, however, he enlisted in the Army and was sent to the ASTP program at the University of Nebraska. He then served in Battery C 156th Artillery in France, Austria, and environs, until the end of World War II. In 1944, Francis married Joan Beckmeyer, daughter of Myrtle and Gustav Henry Beckmeyer of Nashville, his classmate in school in Nashville. 

After discharge from the Army, Francis returned to the University of Illinois to finish his law degree while Joan worked in an abstract of title office in Urbana. Francis was sworn in as an attorney shortly after their twin daughters were born on January 17, 1949.

Francis returned to Nashville to practice law with his father Joseph, while also managing an abstract of title company and an insurance practice. Notwithstanding that very busy schedule, Francis was an active member of the First Presbyterian church, serving as both Elder and treasurer, the American Legion, and the Lion’s Club service organizations, as well as helping to organize, and serving as president for 17 years, the memorial park district which created the beautiful park in Nashville. 

Francis was elected as an associate judge in 1966 and later was elected as a full circuit judge after the Illinois courts were reorganized. He had a knack for mediating disputes and enjoyed the confidence of his fellow judges who sometimes called upon him to effectively handle potentially difficult situations. He enjoyed his service as a judge in the circuit, which had him holding court frequently in St. Clair County and other counties in the Circuit, and several weeks a year in Cook County (Chicago). Francis retired in 1986 after 20 years on the bench. 

Left to mourn this loving man are Joan his wife of 73 years; his children Rebecca Maxwell and husband Ben Small of Tucson, Arizona; Margaret Maxwell Zagel and husband The Honorable James B. Zagel, of Chicago; Andrew Joseph Maxwell and his wife Ann Emge Maxwell, of Chicago; and Kathryn Maxwell and her husband Michael Perrino, of Tempe, Arizona; and Ann and Andy’s three children, Sarah K Maxwell and her husband Josh Hutchison, Caroline M Page and her husband David Page of Chicago, and Lily Ruth Maxwell of San Francisco, and two great grandchildren Henry Page and Genevieve Hutchison. Francis is also survived by his sister Joanne M. Marsh of Wichita, Kansas, as well as many nieces and nephews around the country. 

A memorial service will be held June 3 at 1 p.m. at Bay Village, 8400 Vamo Road, Sarasota, Florida. 

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the First Presbyterian Church, 2050 Oak St, Sarasota, Florida 34237 or Lighthouse of Manasota, 7318 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, Florida, 34243.

Posted on April 14, 2017 by Sara Anderson
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