In one of the saddest moments of our lives, our father George Henry Maxwell passed away May 22, 2022 in Sandy, Utah. Dad was born during tough times in the U.S., December 7, 1931, in St. George, Utah, the third son of Lottie and Robert Maxwell. Dad’s father died when he was twelve years old, leaving his mother to raise him and his two brothers, Robert and Richard Maxwell, in Eureka, Utah, a small mining town. There was little money to spare, and dad learned from his mother to work hard and how to stretch a dollar: two skills that would serve him all his life.
As a boy, dad spent his summers in Pine Valley and St. George with his grandparents, George and Mary Ann Beacham. Their families were early pioneers in Pine Valley that helped settle this area. While living in Eureka, dad and his family worked for the McIntyre Mining Company, but by 1948 dad took a job with UPRR where he began his work on the mainline between Milford and Salt Lake City. He continued working 40 years for the railroad with positions that included Extra Gang Foreman, Assistant Roadmaster in Manhattan, Kansas, then Roadmaster for Idaho Division, locating his family in Kemmerer, Wyoming, and eventually promoted to Engineer of Track-System on Chief Engineer’s Staff-Omaha, Nebraska, responsible for all track construction. He retired in 1988. During his time with the UPRR, dad helped develop the method of beaching embankments during the 1983 to 1987 flood of the Great Salt Lake where he explained, they raised the UPRR mainline 19 1/2 feet above original grade during flooding never stopping train traffic on the mainline. In 1974, dad was elected to the Board of Directors of the American Railway Engineering Association.
Dad married the love of his life, LaRae Greathouse from Lynndyl, Utah, and packed their big family, on a single income, into a modest-sized home. So dad’s chief skill was never spending more than he could afford. When dad was home, he unclogged toilets, fixed shattered windows where the baseballs hit, purchased and fixed vehicles for his teenagers to drive, loaned out his tools to family and neighbors, and sharpened the blades on the lawnmower: we always think of dad, with the smell of fresh mowed grass. When dad was home, things usually got done. Dad was a loyal fan of the Utah Jazz basketball team and loved to play golf. In 1980, dad helped build a family cabin out of reclaimed cedar from an old railroad tunnel in the mountains near Duck Creek, where he loved to spend time with his grandkids around the campfire. Dad learned how to snow ski at fifty years old on top of Snowbird, and then taught all his grandchildren to ski. When the family gathered, he loved listening to the grandkid’s musical talents,and dad continued impacting the lives of his grandchildren as he taught them camping, fishing, hunting, and how to drive his boat. For the financially challenged grandkids, he taught them money management: a skill he learned from his mother. He was always interested in everything his grandchildren did.
He was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and served in the Scout program, in the Elder’s Quorum, and Counselor in the Bishopric in Iowa. He also was a temple worker in the Jordan River Temple. For the past ten years, dad’s health declined from the affects of dementia.
Dad was preceded in death by his parents Lottie and Robert Maxwell, brothers Robert and Richard, daughter Shannon Elizabeth and son David Kent, granddaughter Amanda LaRae. Those left to cherish his memory are his wife of 71 years, LaRae of Sandy, Utah; sons: George R. And Robert S., and daughter Jody R. Edwards of Council Bluffs, Iowa, eleven grandchildren, 23 great-grandchildren, and three great-great grandchildren.
Funeral services will be held on Friday, May 27th at 1:00 PM at the Dimple Dell Ward, 10945 South 1700 East, Sandy. Friends are welcome to greet the family during the viewing from 11:00 to 12:30 PM also at the church. For those wishing to virtually attend services through zoom please visit www.larkinmortuary.com
George will be laid to rest at a graveside on Tuesday, May 31st at 10:00 AM at Larkin Sunset Gardens, 1950 E. Dimple Dell Road, Sandy.