Robert K. Maxwell was born on August 27, 1938 in Winona, MN to Richard and Eugenie (Baumann) Maxwell. In December of 1956, he married Sonja Smitterbergh and they raised three daughters, Leesa, Laura and Susan in the Twin Cities. Several basset hounds also joined the family along the way.
Because of his strong interest in Earth Science, Bob pursued degrees in Geology, Soil Science and Biometeorology which led him to become part of the faculty at the University of Minnesota. After 5 years at a large university, Bob moved to Ashland to join the Sigurd Olson Institute of Environmental Studies as the assistant director. Two years later, Bob moved to Northland College where he joined the science department and returned to teaching, which had always been his strongest calling. Bob was so enthused about getting young folks excited about science that he also created short workshops for elementary aged students. He was most partial to early elementary children as he felt their brains were still open to the great possibilities of the scientific world. Bob remained at Northland until he retired 24 years later.
Bob had numerous interests and hobbies but he particularly enjoyed sailing on Lake Superior as part of a race crew; eventually leading him to purchase his own boat in the Pacific Northwest. Bob and Sonja spent many years cruising in British Columbia, with one summer culminating in a trip to Alaska. He felt at home on the water and appreciated the camaraderie of the sailing communities along his path.
Bob also got great pleasure from cultivating a secluded spot on Madeline Island that has filled his entire family with years of merriment. It is one of the most beautiful places on earth and will always be a place filled with his spirit.
Bob is preceded in death by his parents and his older brother, Alan. Bob is survived by his wife, Sonja, his sister Marjorie Fernald and his three daughters, Leesa (Randy Wegener), Laura, and Susan (Jed) Schleisner. Bob will also be missed by his six grandchildren, Max (Jessica) Greger, Jesse (Suzie) Maxwell, Rachel and Linnea Wegener, Ceci and IsabellaSchleisner as well as four great grandchildren: Alyssa, Makayla, Kaylee and Carter.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to a charity that supports the natural world or to a charity of your choice.
Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to the Mountain Funeral Home and Cremation Services of Ashland and Mellen, WI.