Robert (Bob) Maxson

Thursday, June 27, 2024 10:27 pm

Robert (Bob) P. Maxson, was born Dec. 14, 1948, to Marian and Paul Maxson in Richfield, Minn. He graduated from Richfield High School in 1967 and began his college career at Eastern Illinois University where he received an MBA.  He enjoyed being involved in many sports, playing football in both high school and college.  In college, he found his niche in student government. After college, he worked for a time as a bank examiner, but because he wanted to be closer to family, he moved back to Richfield, where he met Paulette Brutger.  They were married and had two children, Erin (1983) and Michael (1988).

During his time in Minneapolis, he worked at two different business colleges as a teacher.  He eventually became an administrator and was chosen as President of Minneapolis Business College.  Because of the time away from family, that a presidency required, he chose to seek a different job in Northeast Iowa in 1991, so they moved to Decorah, where he was hired at NICC as Dean of Business, Agriculture, and Communications.  He joked that it was a high learning curve because he barely knew what a combine was, having grown up in the Twin Cities his entire life.  He eventually became Vice President of Administrative Services and Provost at NICC, Calmar.  His nickname of “Bob the Builder” evolved as he loved projects which expanded new facilities and remodeled old ones.  Others called him “the budget guy” since he was responsible for keeping the finances of the college on track. He loved mentoring others and trained many individuals to fulfill new jobs such as deans, human resource specialists, and college presidents.  His opinion was valued by many who knew him to be a man of integrity and compassion.  Bob always valued people as individuals and treated all with respect.  He established emergency funds to help students who were unable to make ends meet while they attended college. If there was ever a cause to help others, Bob was at the forefront.

After 25 years of marriage, he and Paulette divorced in 2003.  Later that year, he was introduced to Susan Cantine, a Decorah High school teacher.  In 2005, Susan and Bob were married.  They both took early retirement and planned to move to Lansing Iowa to enjoy a life of leisure. In 2006, a friend who was now a community college president in Kansas called to recruit Bob to come to Concordia, Kansas to be the vice president of student services and to bring the college’s budget back in line.  They moved and ended up being in Kansas for 8 years while Bob worked for Cloud County Community College and Susan ran a 100 year old opera house.  In addition to his job in Kansas, they were avid supporters of CCCC sports teams, particularly basketball.  Bob’s love of history spurred on his support of the Brown Grand Theater, the National Orphan Train Complex, and the WWII POW museum, all in Concordia.  He was proud of his accomplishments at CCCC which included many building renovations and new building projects.  He was instrumental in establishing geo-thermal energy for the school as well as helping to create the wind technology program.

Bob received numerous awards during his career including CCCC Outstanding Service Award, Iowa Outstanding Administrator Award; Phi Theta Kappa National Administrator of the Year, and the NICC Outstanding Retiree Service Award.

In 2014, Bob and Susan took “real” retirement and returned to Lansing. Bob entered Thornton Manor Nursing Home in Lansing in 2023, where he died after a lengthy illness on May 17, 2024.

In addition to sharing a birthday, Bob and Susan shared a love of family, laughter, gardening, and traveling.  They journeyed trips to Mexico, Alaska, Hawaii, Washington DC, New York City, New Orleans, Canada, Costa Rica, both coasts, numerous national parks, and many states.  They loved visiting historical sites and natural wonders.  He was a Vikings fan all his life.

Bob is survived by his wife, Susan Cantine; his children; Erin Maxson Kiene, (Jesse Kiene), Michael Maxson, and two stepsons, Andrew (Kasey Hutchinson), Aaron (Jenni) Cantine; his sisters, Pauline Bingham (Doug) and Barb Hauri; seven grandchildren, numerous nieces, and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and his sister, Mary Hager.

A Celebration of Life service (beer & brats for Bob) will be held at TBock’s upper level in Decorah on July 6 from 3 to 6 p.m. A short program will begin at 3:30, followed by sharing memories and stories about Bob. There will be several opportunities during the time to share stories. The event center may be accessed by the door next to T Bock’s bar on Water Street or from the rear parking lot. The front access has a handicap-accessible chair on the stairs.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to NICC Foundation, Student Crisis Fund or Student Support Fund (8342 NICC Drive, Peosta, IA 52068); Cloud County Community College Bob Maxson Scholarship for Leaders (PO Box 1002, Concordia, KS 66901); LIFT Food Bank (Box 421) in Lansing, IA, Crossing Rivers Hospice, Prairie Du Chien, WI, or a local food bank.

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