GRACE RUSHING MAXWELL, 92
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ORLANDO - Grace Rushing Maxwell, age 92, departed this life at Winter Park Towers Wednesday, August 1, 2012, due to natural causes.
She was born February 25, 1920 in her parents' home near Galloway (Lakeland), Polk County, Florida, to the late Ryan and Pearl Sutton Rushing as a fourth-generation Floridian. She graduated as Valedictorian from Kathleen High School in 1937. She was formerly married to the late Earl LaVerne Maxwell of Tallahassee, Florida.
Dr. Maxwell received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Florida State College for Women (now Florida State University) in 1942, a Master of Arts degree from the University of Florida in1955, and her doctorate from Florida State University in 1964 as the top graduate in her class.
Grace was an original pioneer in breaking the "glass ceiling" for women. She earned a PhD in a day when few women did so. In the course of her career Dr. Maxwell worked as a research assistant for the Florida Attorney General, was instrumental in establishing as professor and dean the Florida Keys Junior College in Key West, Florida, Indian River Junior College in Fort Pierce, Florida, and St Johns River Junior College in Palatka, Florida. She was an instructor at Florida State University and North Florida Junior College in Madison, Florida. In 1969 she began her long career as professor and dean at Florida A & M University, Tallahassee, Florida, retiring in 1992.
Dr. Maxwell was the author of many articles and contributions to professional peer review publications and also the Master Campus Plan for Florida Keys Junior College, Key West, Florida, in which she suggested a physical design that was ultimately used for the main college building that is today a part of Florida Keys Community College.
Grace was member of East Hill Baptist Church in Tallahassee, Florida, a member and officer of numerous honor societies and professional, community, and civic organizations including serving as President and Director of the Capital City Democratic Women's Club, Tallahassee, Florida.
Grace is survived by her son E. David (Dianne) Maxwell of Winter Park, Florida; her son Gregory (Harriet Terhune) Maxwell, of Tallahassee, Florida; 12 grandchildren, Dacia (Rafe) Maxwell-Hix of Knoxville, Tennessee, Brent (Amy Johns) Maxwell of Ocala, Florida, Claire of Rocky Hill, Connecticut, Casey of Las Vegas, Nevada, Bree (Andy) Anderson of Ocala, Florida, Anne Maxwell of Cambridge, Massachusetts, Bryce (Eric) Hilgenfeldt of Ocala, Florida, Taylor Maxwell of Ocala, Florida, Seth Maxwell of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Ryan Maxwell of Washington, D.C., Micah (Christina) Maxwell, M.D., PhD, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Andrew Maxwell of Lake Elsinore, California; 6 great grandchildren, Ronan Hix, Lorelei Hix, Lynne Maxwell, Colin Anderson, Isabella Maxwell, Sebastian Maxwell, 2 sisters, Stella Bryant and Theresa (Jack) Bare and one brother, Warren (Rebecca) Rushing all of Lakeland, Florida. Grace is further survived by the widows of her deceased sons, Wendy (Ryan) Maxwell of Ocala, Florida, and Lynne (Keith) Maxwell, M.D., of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by 2 sons, Keith Maxwell, M.D., of Baltimore, Maryland and Ryan Maxwell, M.D., of Ocala, Florida, 4 sisters, Leona Brand, Jesse Collier, Thelma Bare, Lela Murphy, and a brother, Albert Cline Rushing, all of Lakeland, Florida.
Memorial services for Dr. Grace Maxwell, who requested that she be cremated, will be held at 4:00 p.m., Saturday, August 11, 2012, at the Baldwin-Fairchild Ivanhoe Chapel, 301 NE Ivanhoe Blvd., Orlando, Florida 32804. Winter Park Towers Chaplain Jeff Parkkila will officiate. Relatives and friends are welcome.
It is asked that relatives and friends consider a gift in Dr. Maxwell's name to one of her favorite charities, Doctors without Borders, Operation Smile, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Vitas Hospice*.
We would like to thank all of the staff of the Winter Park Towers, especially including those who became Grace's close friends, Addie, Melba, and Elcie, also Kenya and the others who provided personal care to Grace in her later years. Thank you her fellow residents for your overwhelming outpourings of love and expressions of regret at her passing.
* For more information go to
Published in Ledger on Aug. 8, 2012