Charles E. Maxwell Jr. former bridge builder died Tuesday March 6, 2012 at the age of 96.
Charles was born April 13, 1915 in Columbus, Kan. He was the second son of Charles E. Maxwell Sr. and Minnie “Winter” Maxwell. Columbus was his home during his school years. He worked summers on bridge construction for Maxwell Construction Company. In 1918, his father and an uncle started Maxwell Construction Company. In 1936 he started working full time as an iron worker foreman for Missouri Bridge and Iron Company. They were building the Topeka Avenue Bridge over the Kansas River at Topeka, Kansas. Upon completion of the Topeka job he returned to work as a Bridge Superintendent for Maxwell Construction. Charles met his wife to be (Jane Hancock) while building a bridge near Harrison, Arkansas. They were married in Branson, Missouri on September 4, 1938 at the Presbyterian Church.
In 1941 Charles and his father founded the Maxwell Bridge Company. After World War II his brother Dale Maxwell joined the company. In 1960 Charles took over the company and continued the business with his son Charles E. Maxwell III. Charles retired in 1975 and spent a lot of time on the golf course.
Charles and Jane made their home in Columbus until 1972. In 1972 he moved the company headquarters to Kansas City, Kan. They lived in Overland Park until his retirement in 1975.
After he retired they lived on golf courses at Siloam Springs, Arkansas, Bullard, Texas and Lawrence, Kansas. In 1993 they moved to Louisburg, Kansas to be closer to their family. In 2009 they returned to Columbus, Kan.
Charles was an active member of the Kansas Contracting Association, The Heavy Contractors Association, and the Associated General Contractors of Missouri where he served on their board of directors for many years and was their president in 1968.
Charles received his fifty year membership recognition from Prudence Masonic Lodge Number 100 in Columbus in 2003. He was also a member of Peace Lodge Number 243 in Louisburg. He was member of the Scottish Rite Freemasonry, Fort Scott, Kan. and Mirza Shrine in Pittsburg, Kan. Charles was a former member of Court 95 Royal Order of Jesters. He served as their director for one year. Charles was a life member of the University of Kansas Alumni Association. He maintained membership in the First Presbyterian Church of Columbus, Kan. He regularly attended the Miami Presbyterian Church in Louisburg.
He was preceded in death by great grand daughter Lyla Marie Patterson.
Charles is survived by what he says is the best wife any man ever had. They celebrated 73 years together last September fourth. He is also survived by their four children, Charles Edd Maxwell III of Stanley, Kan., John Hancock Maxwell of San Francisco, Calif., Jan Houser of Columbus, Kan. and Ellen Maxwell Wallerstedt of Louisburg, Kan., ten grandchildren and fourteen great grandchildren.
Funeral services will be held Saturday, March 10, 2012 at 1 p.m. at Derfelt Funeral Home Columbus, Kansas with Susan Rosenbaum officiating. Burial will follow in Park cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to the Columbus Community Foundation. Online condolences may be posted at www.defeltfuneralhomes.com