1931 ~ The Tribute of Life ~ 2017
Junius Kenneth Maxwell, 85, of Pink Hill, NC, departed this life on Sunday, May 28, 2017 at his home.
Preceded in death by his wife of 59 years Virginia Clark Ihrie Maxwell, he is survived by four children: daughter Glenn Elizabeth Maxwell (Dennis Tracz) of the home; son Junius Kenneth Maxwell, II (Renee) of Asheville, NC; son William Ernest Maxwell of Sheridan, MT, and daughter Virginia Maxwell Nichols (David) of Louisa, VA; loving grandchildren, Kathryn Pharr Edwards (Jonathan) of London, England, Joan Pharr of Durham, NC, Andrew Pharr of Raleigh, NC, Christina Maxwell of Manhattan, NY, Calvert Maxwell of Raleigh, NC, Maxwell Nichols and Morgan Nichols of Louisa, VA.
Born October 15, 1931, Kenneth was the only child of Ernest Roscoe Maxwell and Glenn Marie Sutton Maxwell. He graduated high school from Castle Heights Military Academy in Lebanon, TN where he also wrestled and pitched on the baseball team. He received his BS degree in Animal Industry in 1954 and his MS in Agriculture in 1960 from NC State College (NC State University).
While at NC State, Kenneth was commissioned in the U.S. Army and served on active duty during the Korean War as a tank commander in the 82nd Airborne Division. He retired a Colonel after 38 years combined in the Army and Army Reserves.
In 1957 he and Virginia married two months from the day they met. They raised their four children in Pink Hill and were active community members.
Kenneth was a lifelong equestrian, and a successful farmer, cattleman, and executive in the animal health industry from the 1950s until his retirement. The family farm has belonged to the Maxwells for more than 100 years. An early believer in the advantages of grass-fed beef, he and Virginia traveled to New Zealand and learned first-hand about rotational and controlled grazing. He began importing New Zealand-based Gallagher fence systems and became one of the first producers to implement the technology into his own commercial beef cattle farm.
Kenneth was Animal Health Manager for Daly-Herring Company for many years. In the late 1970s, he and three partners formed Ag-Mark, Inc. which served the animal industry in a three-state region. As President of Ag-Mark, Kenneth served on the Board of Directors for numerous organizations including Durvet Animal Health, Inc. and the NC Forage & Grassland Council. He received numerous distinguished awards including the Honorary State FFA Degree.
Kenneth’s life was characterized by a deep, powerful, and unrelenting faith in God, and the hope that comes from salvation through grace. His humble, prayer-filled life is a legacy for his family and those who knew him best. The Maxwells were a founding family in the early 1900’s of Pink Hill United Methodist Church where Kenneth was a lifelong member, served in numerous leadership roles, and sang in the choir.
Home visitation will be 2:00-6:00 pm on Sunday, June 4 at the Maxwell family farm.
Funeral services will be at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, Kinston, NC on Monday, June 5, 2:00 pm. A private graveside burial will follow.
The family thanks the caregivers who have been caring, kind, and a source of lively conversation for Kenneth: Dede Peele, Vivian Sanders, Supreme Choice Health Care (Shekethia Larry, Latrivette Baker, and Yvonne Beavers), Beverly Miller Murphy, Linda Stroud,and our friends at Community Hospice, especially Amy Byrd.
In recognition of Kenneth’s life-long commitment to education, agriculture and leadership, the J.K. Maxwell Scholarship has been established to help North Carolina natives pursue an agricultural-related degree at NC State.
In lieu of flowers, the family encourages donations payable to NC Agricultural Foundation, Inc. (designate on memo line - J.K. Maxwell Scholarship) and mail to NC Agricultural Foundation, Inc., NC State University, Box 7645, Raleigh, NC 27695-7645.