Chuck Maxwell was equally at home with the notables he met through his work and the Omahans he coached in fast-pitch softball.
“As a P.R. guy at Mutual (of Omaha) and then Creighton, he met a lot of big shots,” his family said, “but he also loved working on projects for regular folks — just for the fun of it.
“It might have been a serious award or it might have been a gag gift, something to let them know he thought they were special, too.”
Charles F. “Chuck” Maxwell Jr., a longtime men's softball coach and former Creighton University alumni director, died Sunday at Hospice House-The Josie Harper Residence of pancreatic cancer, said daughter Mary “Mimi” Maxwell Reed of Owosso, Mich.
The terminal cancer diagnosis came while the family prepared for Maxwell's 78th birthday in May, said son Charles F. “Chip” Maxwell III of Omaha.
With Chuck's agreement, the family hosted his A-Wake, a party for the soon to be deceased, as opposed to a wake for the deceased, Chip said.
“It was great. It was kind of like the last scene in 'It's a Wonderful Life,'” he said. Nearly 200 name tags were used.
“One of my favorite sights was Hal Daub, dean of the local Republican Party, leaving the party with Jim Begley, MUD (Metropolitan Utilities District) board member and hard-core Democrat,” the son said.
“That was the kind of spirit that prevailed at the party,” Chip Maxwell said.
Chuck Maxwell was a lifelong member of St. Cecilia Cathedral, graduating from its elementary school and the now-closed Cathedral High School.
As an adult parishioner, he helped start the lectoring program, coach youth sports teams and teach weekly religious lessons for Catholic children who attended public schools.
Baseball and softball were longtime passions.
Pictures of family members with Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle were evidence of Maxwell's passion for baseball and the New York Yankees.
Maxwell played softball as an adult until two slipped discs sent him into coaching.
In 2007, Maxwell was inducted as a charter member of the Metro Omaha Softball Hall of Fame. He had amassed more than 1,291 wins and 10 city championships during 40 years — 1965 to 2005 — of coaching men's fast-pitch softball teams for Jim's Bar and Westside Chapel.
Chuck Maxwell graduated from Creighton University and worked in public relations at Mutual before joining CU's alumni department.
Besides his son and daughter, other survivors include his wife of 52 years, Mary Maxwell, a public speaker noted for her humor; sons James F. Maxwell of Omaha, Timothy E. Maxwell Sr. of Omaha and Jeffrey M. Maxwell of Barkhamsted, Conn.; and 14 grandchildren.
A funeral Mass for Maxwell will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Cecilia Cathedral, 701 N. 40th St.