Funeral services for Dr. James Donald Maxwell, 77, of Benoit, MS will be at 2:00 p.m., Wednesday, May 23 at the Benoit Union Church in Benoit. He passed away on May 17, 2018, due to complications from a brain tumor. Burial will be the Shaw Cemetery, Shaw under the direction of Boone Funeral Home, Greenville.
Known as Jim to many Greenville friends and Don to family and people around Benoit, Dr. Maxwell was born near Gosnell, Arkansas, in 1940 to Celba and James Maxwell. The family moved to Benoit during his early teenage years, and he graduated from Benoit High School in 1958. He received his undergraduate degree from Mississippi State University in 1962, then earned a Master’s Degree from Cornell University and a Ph.D from North Carolina State University. He spent the next 12 years at Clemson University as a professor and South Carolina’s state soybean breeder. In 1979, he moved his family to Greenville, Mississippi, to be closer to his and his wife’s extended families and to become the CEO of Hollandale Seed and Delinting. Later, Dr. Maxwell became a partner in Maxwell Farms with his father and nephew and continued in that profession until his death.
Dr. Maxwell was an active member of First United Methodist Church in Greenville until he and his wife moved to Benoit in 1996. He was an active member of the Benoit Methodist Church for 22 years and served in many capacities, including chairman of the pastor-parish relations committee, chairman of the finance committee, and member of the Board of Trustees and Union Council. He had many interests. He was an avid reader and enjoyed traveling throughout the United States and the world. He loved socializing and belonged to several local dinner clubs to indulge his passions for people and food. He loved telling jokes and sharing stories. He never met a stranger.
He was preceded in death by his son James, Jr., and his parents Celba and James. He is survived by his wife, Bettye Farmer Maxwell, to whom he was married for over 54 years, his daughter Margaret Maxwell Wright (Bill) of Hermosa Beach, his sisters Marida Coghlan (Charles) of Benoit and Sylvia Stubbs (Roy) of Indianola, his nephew and partner Rusty Stubbs (Dana) of Greenville, many nieces and nephews, and numerous friends.
There will be a visitation one hour prior to services at the church. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to either the James Maxwell Fund at the Benoit Union Church, Benoit, MS, or to the Bologna Performing Arts Center of Delta State University in Cleveland, MS.