The earliest memories I have of Joe and Kathleen Maxwell were made while my daughter participated in a gymnastics class at their studio in Kerrville, TX. They were welcoming, loving and professional as they guided a cautious young girl into their world. They made their world safe and fun.
A few years later, I would connect with the Maxwell family again when their oldest son was assigned to my 6th grade Language Arts class at the public school where I was a teacher. Austin was a model student - bright, respectful, conscientious, friendly and a capable participant in class. Finding out that he received an appointment to the Naval Academy in Annapolis after graduation from high school came as no surprise to me.
I was not too frequently in settings with the Maxwell family but because of their prominence in our community, I followed the work into which God led them. Everything I heard and read underscored the fact that they lived their lives seeking to worship, serve and spread the Kingdom of God.
For many people, Joe's diagnosis of Merkel Cell cancer early in 2009 was a shock and a tragedy! People around the world joined a band of prayer warriors reading their CaringBridge posts to follow his progression through surgery and treatment. Each entry was encouragement to the reader even when the news was disappointing and dire. Joe, Kathleen and their children steadfastly maintained their strong faith and trust in a loving God. That faith remains even though Joe's fight with cancer ended early on October 8th.
As Joe was about to be discharged for the last time from MD Anderson Hospital in Houston, TX, a reporter from the NY Times interviewed him and Kathleen. The article was published today and has a mention of Joe. May it be one more way in which his life serves to share God's truth with a world in great need of being in a forgiven, redeemed relationship with Joe's Savior.
Kathleen will continue to share her journey through a blog she has just begun.