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Colleen Hinckley Maxwell, Wife of Elder Neal A. Maxwell, Dies at Age 87

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Originally posted on Mormon Newsroom.

Colleen Hinckley Maxwell, the wife of late Mormon apostle Elder Neal A. Maxwell (1926–2004), died on January 17, 2016. She was 87.

Born on April 8, 1928, Easter Sunday, in Salt Lake City, Utah, Colleen Hinckley was the only daughter of George Edwin Hinckley and Anna Fern Johnson Hinckley. She had two brothers, George and Ed, who shared the warm atmosphere that prevailed in their childhood home.

After graduating from East High in Salt Lake, Colleen attended the University of Utah. When she completed her studies there, she accepted a position to teach home economics at a high school in Thatcher, Arizona. Just before she left for her new assignment, she met Neal A. Maxwell at a party. When she returned to Salt Lake for the summer, he invited her to go out with him. She politely declined, but he asked again, and she accepted. The couple married on November 22, 1950, in the Salt Lake Temple.

At the time of their marriage, her husband was a college student and Colleen was teaching at Jackson Junior High in Salt Lake City. After the birth of their first child, a daughter named Rebecca, Colleen was seriously ill for several months. As she began to recover, her positive and grateful attitude inspired all those around her.

The Maxwells lived in Washington, D.C., during the late 1950s and early 1960s. Cory, their only son, was born while they lived there.

When an opportunity came for her husband to return to Utah as the assistant director of public relations at the University of Utah, Colleen urged him to accept. After four exciting years in the nation’s capital, it was good to be back home and settle into the busy life as the wife of a college administrator. Another daughter, Nancy, was born in 1957 and the youngest child, Jane, in 1959.

As the children grew up, Colleen encouraged them to seek ways to give of themselves through recognizing opportunities for service. She taught this principle by her untiring example. Her husband also was a tireless servant and was involved in numerous ecclesiastical positions in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; he was called to serve as an apostle in the Church in 1981. Elder Maxwell described his wife as “a more complete Christian” than he was, with a great desire to serve others. Elder Maxwell died in 2004 at age 78 after a lengthy battle with leukemia.

Active in numerous community organizations, Colleen served on the advisory committee of the Department of Family Living and Consumer Studies and as member of the alumni board at her alma mater, the University of Utah. She quietly served as a volunteer for children suffering from spina bifida and as a volunteer at the Guadalupe School, which focuses on the literacy needs of at-risk children. Colleen also served as a member of the Church’s Young Women general board.

She possessed an extraordinary gift to love and inspire others from all walks of life. Her tender sensitivity brought to her husband a level of support he identified as “his auxiliary conscience.” With her timely guidance and cheerful disposition, she was recognized by an apostle husband, her children and grandchildren, her neighbors, and even casual acquaintances as a dedicated woman rehearsed in “choosing the better part.”

Funeral services will be January 23, 2016, at the Monument Park Second Ward, 1005 South 2000 East, Salt Lake City. Interment will follow at the Salt Lake City Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Missionary Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or to Primary Children’s Hospital.

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Aleah Ingram
Aleah Ingram
Aleah is a graduate of Southern Virginia University, where she studied English, Creative Writing, and Dance. She now works full time as a marketing and product manager, writer, and editor. Aleah served a mission in California and loves baking, Lang Leav poetry, Gaynor Minden pointe shoes, and Bollywood movies.

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