Remembering Mountaineer Bill Maxwell

Former Mountaineers President, Bill Maxwell, passed away on November 20. Bill served as president from 1986-1987 during a critical “turn-around” time for the organization. He and his wife Judi later received The Mountaineers Service Award for their outstanding contributions.
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
November 26, 2017

Bill Maxwell (1936-2017)

Mountaineers often measure their heroes by first ascents or mettle under adverse conditions. Former president Bill Maxwell earned his place in the annals of Mountaineers’ history as much for skill in the boardroom as for his many alpine scrambling trips and global adventures.

Bill passed away on November 20, surrounded by family. The Mountaineers remember him as a man inspired by his love for the outdoors and his commitment to conservation. Bill served as club President from 1986-1987 during a critical “turn-around” time for the organization. He and his wife Judi later received The Mountaineers Service Award for their outstanding contributions.

At The Mountaineers, we benefit from his work every day.

“1986 saw our club swimming in a sea of red ink,” Bill later wrote. “It is doubtful our club faced greater peril or more change than during this two-year period.”

Diane Hoff (President, 1990-1992) recalled it this way: “When I joined the board in 1986, we were looking at a financial crisis of monumental proportion. I liken it to slipping toward the edge of a crevasse with no rescue in sight.”

“The problem,” Diane said, “was our unwillingness to accept our fiscal responsibility to ensure adequate dues income, and our inability/unwillingness to make tough financial decisions. With Bill Maxwell’s leadership, we dug in, stopped our slide and turned ourselves around.”

Virginia Felton, who was hired by Maxwell as the organization’s first executive director, described the business discipline Bill brought to his leadership at The Mountaineers, and how he used this to focus the organization on its core mission: outdoor recreation and conservation.

“Bill was an early visionary to realize that in some areas of club operations—particularly buildings and publications—volunteer management was not ideal. He paved the way for a new partnership between staff and volunteers." - Virginia Felton

An outdoor gathering to honor Bill’s life will be announced in the spring of 2018. Memorial gifts can be made to The Mountaineers or the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust


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