Given his many maladies and his age, Carl Maxwell, 77, of Berlin, Ohio, would have every right to simply give up on life. Instead, he has done just the opposite, and many people are the beneficiaries.
The list of all the good Maxwell has done in his life far exceeds his list of illnesses. Kidney dialysis three times a week, congestive heart failure, diabetes, quadruple bypass surgery on his heart, suffering four heart attacks, staph infections and skin cancer head the list.
Maxwell hasn’t let any of that stop him. If anything, they serve as incentives to live life to the fullest everyday. He does so personally and through several community organizations for which he volunteers.
“I love life,” Maxwell said. “I want to do everything I possibly can while I can.”
Maxwell has and is doing a lot by any measure. His accomplishments would be impressive for someone in excellent health.
Maxwell was a charter member of the East Holmes Lions Club and is a charter member of the newly established Berlin Lions Club. He served as president of the East Holmes club, and was recently presented the prestigious Melvin Jones Fellow award by Lions Club International.
“I’m especially interested in the sight aspect of Lions Club,” Maxwell said. Lions Clubs collect used eyeglasses and distribute them to needy people around the world.
Maxwell has served as either president or vice president of the East Holmes Fire and EMS District board since its inception in 2000. He is the at large member of the five-member board.
Maxwell, along with his wife of 53 years, Lorene, volunteer at Save and Serve Thrift Shop in Millersburg twice a week.
“On Tuesdays,” Maxwell said, “I cut rages with Paul Roth.” He and Lorene also help out as cashiers on Thursday evenings.
Maxwell has also taught Sunday school at several levels at Berlin Mennonite Church for many years.
“I like people,” Maxwell simply said.
If he did slow down, no one would question his decision. Maxwell goes for kidney dialysis three times a week in Wooster.
“Counting my time on the road,” he said, “each visit takes eight hours.” Maxwell is not complaining about that.
“I didn’t really want to do dialysis,” Maxwell said. “But I got out voted 5-1 on that.” His loving wife and four sons all wanted him to do the treatments. Maxwell drew the line there.
“I had an opportunity for a kidney transplant,” Maxwell said, “but I turned it down.” He said he felt someone younger than him should have a chance at the available kidney. “I couldn’t live with myself if I had taken a kidney that some 20-year old needed,” Maxwell said frankly.
Maxwell doesn’t spend all of his time volunteering. He also has some heart-felt hobbies in which he has invested much time and money. Maxwell, who once had 14 antique cars, now has three old cars and a 2002 Corvette, which he calls his “toy.” He occasionally drives it to his dialysis sessions.
At the peak of his car collecting days, Maxwell served for 16 years on the regional board of directors of the Antique Car Collectors of Canton. Maxwell also has the world’s largest collection of Sinclair Oil products and memorabilia, which was featured earlier this year in an international collection magazine. From old gas and oilcans to large advertising signs to refurbished gasoline pumps, Maxwell’s collection is clearly one-of-a-kind. He has gathered items from many states and even other countries.
That extensive collection stems from his life’s work.
Maxwell worked 36 years for Holmes Oil, which originally distributed Sinclair products. He started as a truck driver, but after six years, he and Maynard Hummel became co-owners of the business. Maxwell sold his half interest in the business after 30 years.
“I have had an unbelievable life,” Maxwell readily shared. He credits two women for those experiences, his wife and his late mother, Edna Weaver Maxwell.
“I owe a lot to others, especially my wife,” he said. “She’s just been amazing.” He said Lorene has been an incredible help to him in his many times of need. Maxwell said he recognizes his physical limits and takes the time to rest so he can continue to keep his busy pace.
“I want to do everything I possibly can,” Maxwell said. “Life is still worth living, and it’s too short to be negative.”
This article appeared in the July 2, 2012 edition of the Bargain Hunter, Millersburg, OH.
© Bruce Stambaugh 2012