Saturday, September 19th, 2015
Christ the Good Shepherd
18511 Klein Church Rd
Spring, Texas 77379
12:00 PM, Visitation with the Family, Church Narthex
1:00 PM, Mass celebrated by Father Desmond Daniels
Reception for friends and family will follow at the Maxson family house.
Friday, October 16th, 2015
Long Island National Cemetery
2040 Wellwood Avenue
Farmingdale, NY 11735-1211
Lunch will follow for family and friends at:
Palmers American Grille
123 Fulton St
Farmingdale, NY 11735
William Joseph Maxson passed away peacefully on Thursday, August 27, 2015 at home in Houston, Texas. He was blessed with ninety-seven years on Earth.
He will be missed and lovingly remembered by his son Denis M. Maxson and his wife, Elizabeth; four grandchildren, Denis J. Maxson and his wife, Kelly, Noreen Maxson, Tara Maxson, Eileen Maxson and her husband, Arie Bouman; great-grandson William Augustus Maxson; sister, Josephine McGahan of Dingman’s Ferry, Pennsylvania; nephew Michael Gallo and niece, Loretta Coleman and her husband, Hubert of Connellsville, Pennsylvania; and many more nieces, nephews and extended family and friends.
William began life on 54th Street in Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan on May 14, 1918. He was the son of Arthur and Lauretta Wynn Maxson, and brother to a loving and motley crew of eleven brothers and sisters: Arthur, Loretta, Edward, Irene, James, Robert, Josephine, Eugene, Valentine and Ann. While the rough-and-tumble neighborhood they all knew has long since changed, William still fondly remembered chopping firewood for his mother and her friends, Mrs. Rosenback and Mrs. Wolfe, to use in their cooking stoves, and the years he was afforded an education at Saint Ambrose Catholic Grammar School down the street. Happier memories still, he could recall mornings spent rivaling over his mother’s pancakes with his brother, Eddy and his sister, Irene.
At the age of twenty-one, William met Marguerite Portzelt, the love of his life, and married her the same year on November 26, 1939 at Sacred Heart Church on West 51st Street. They enjoyed thirty-eight years of marriage and had two children together, Denis Michael and Kathleen Ann. As a family, their life together was filled with love and laughter, typified by William using any (any every) occasion to sing his sweetheart a song, often times “If I Had It My Way” by Bing Crosby. Forever devoted, William remained a widower after Marguerite’s passing in January 1977.
More than anything, William found joy, laughter and happiness in his family and in his children; first as a father, then as a grandfather and great-grandfather. He coached his son’s rag-tag baseball team in the Bronx, and could even find fun as a disciplinarian. When Denis was grounded, William liked to pretend that all of Denis’ friends were coming to call for him. He would open the front door and say, loud enough for Denis to hear, “I’m so sorry, but Denis can’t come out and play. He did such and such a thing. He’s grounded. Have lots of fun!”. As “Gramps”, he reveled in our laughter at his practical jokes, and our delight when he “found” money behind our ears. At Christmas time, his performance as Santa was an institution. Every year, he generously passed out gifts to the kids and wise cracks to the adults in equal measure.
On a somber point, an impactful period of William’s life was time spent as a soldier. During World War II, he served honorably in the United States Army in the storied 29th Division, 115th Infantry, Company B. He fought in Holland and Germany during two fierce, hand to hand combat battles which earned him the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, and the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, among other awards and decorations. Wounds inflicted during his service impacted William for the rest of his life. Fragments of shrapnel, too deep to remove, remained in his body for over seventy years, as did the psychological impact of war.
With this in mind, the family asks that, in lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the Wounded Warrior Project:
The family would like to thank the following extraordinary people who provided great support and love to William during his final years with us:
Freddie Ruth Arceneaux, Caregiver
Debra Hunter-Shivers, Caregiver and Owner, Mimi’s Caring Angels
Nik Taylor, Registered Nurse
Jessieca Walker, Caregiver
Ann Prasek, Minister of Holy Communion
Eulogy, Denis J. Maxson
I would like to begin by thanking some of the wonderful people who helped my parents take care of my grandfather, or Gramps as we called him:
Debra Hunter-Shivers, Jessieca Walker, Freddie Arceneaux, Nik Taylor and Ann Prasak.
Anyone who was fortunate enough to know Gramps remembered him as the life of any party with a sharp wit and ability to make anyone smile or laugh. He especially loved to make children happy, most notably my 3 sisters and I, sometimes to the dismay of our parents.
For much of our childhood Gramps only lived a few doors down from us with our Aunt Kathleen. If Mom and Dad said “no” to something, “yes” was often only a few houses away.
Here are some of the great memories that we shared over the years:
Every year on my sister Noreen’s birthday just before Christmas, Gramps dressed up as Santa Claus to our joy and amazement. He was so good at playing the part that we did not even realize it was him for many years.
We spent a lot of time growing up at Gramps’ summer house in the Pocono Mountains. There we explored the woods, walked down to the general store for ice cream, swam in the lake, and sat out on the screened porch talking and playing in the evenings.
One on one time with Gramps was always very special to all of us. I still fondly remember learning about baseball while playing catch in his driveway. He was always mindful to make sure we all felt very special.
As we got a little older you would not believe how often Gramps found money on the floor that we had “dropped” or somehow had lodged itself behind our ears.
Then when I was a teenager, while on my way out to the beach, Gramps came running out the front door after me with his bathing suit and beach towel in hand, saying he was ready to go!
He may not have remembered your name as many a “Whoseit" could tell you but Gramps still made them all smile and laugh.
Going back, one of the most famous stories in our family lore took place at the Poconos house during a family Labor Day party in 1970. My Dad announced my parents wedding engagement to the group. Before anyone could react however Gramps added, “Don’t worry. He does this every year with a different girl.”. Everyone erupted with laughter, even my parents. Well at least that is what they say now, 45 years later.
Even a couple of weeks before he passed away, Gramps still had his moments. After a weekend meal at my parents’ house we decided to bathe his great grandson Gus before heading home. To get to the bath we had to walk past Gramps’ bedroom where he was watching a baseball game. After a 30 minute battle Royale of a bath, Gus skipped out clean and happy, followed by me exhausted, soaking wet, and even bloodied. Gramps looked up at me as we approached him and said, “Oh are you done? I was just about to get up and come in there to help you.”
I laughed and walked out of the room with a big smile on my face.
Gramps we all love you and will miss you.