Saturday, August 31, 2002

Obituary: Rudolph Maxwell Jr., former radio announcer

Mt. Vernon man was relative of Cincinnati settler

By Rebecca Billman,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Rudolph Neff Maxwell Jr., a man whose family tree contains the names of some of Cincinnati's most prominent citizens, died Aug. 24 at Knox Community Hospital in Mount Vernon, Ohio. He was 84.

        “He was a great, great, great-grandson of Judge Jacob Burnet, one of Cincinnati's original settlers,” said his brother, Irving M. Maxwell of Mariemont.

        Judge Burnet was an early Cincinnati attorney as well as judge of the Northwest Territory, and a U.S. Senator.

        “The property where Burnet Woods is located was originally the Burnet farm,” said Irving Maxwell. It was given to Cincinnati in the 1870s by the Burnet family.

        Rudolph Maxwell was also a great, great-grandson of Peter Neff, one of the founders of Spring Grove Cemetery, and a great-grandson of Peter Rudolph Neff, second president of the College of Music (now the College-Conservatory of Music).

        Mr. Maxwell was born in Cincinnati in 1918 and grew up in Madisonville. He was the first child of Rudolph Neff Maxwell Sr. and Fannie McCullough Hills Maxwell.

        He graduated from Withrow High School, class of 1936, and served with the U.S. Navy during World War II.

        Mr. Maxwell had an affinity for radios and served as a radioman in the Pacific Theater of the war. “Among his experiences was to send and receive messages during the bombing of Pearl Harbor,” said his brother.

        After the war, he received a bachelor's degree from the Northwestern University School of Speech.

        He became an announcer and engineer for WMVO radio in Mount Vernon in 1954 — a job he kept until his retirement in 1981.

        Through the years, he donated his radio expertise to the National Weather Service and the Knox County Disaster Service, operating his ham equipment during emergencies. “He talked all over the world,” said his brother.

        Mr. Maxwell was a member of the Kiwanis Club, Lions Club, Knox County Amateur Radio Club, Mount Vernon Numismatic Society and Mount Vernon Camp of the Gideons International.

        He was preceded in death by his first wife, Barbara Gooch Vienne Maxwell, in 1975.

        In addition to his brother, Irving, survivors include: his second wife, Violet Wells Maxwell; two sisters, Marcella Maxwell Chamberlain and Loraine Maxwell Walters, both of Springdale; and five step-children.

        Services have been held. Burial was at Spring Grove Cemetery.

        Memorials: Mount Vernon Nazarene University Scholarship Fund, 800 Martinsburg Road, Mount Vernon, Ohio 43050; or the Gideons International Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 505, Mount Vernon, Ohio 43050.


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