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Farewell to a Dear Friend

John D. Maxson 1940 – 2016 

We are very saddened at the loss of one of the Museum’s finest.  John DeGolyer “Jack” Maxson passed away on October 21st.  Jack was a dear friend to many of us and a long-time supporter of the Museum of the American Railroad.  He served on the Board of Trustees for 17 years and held a number of officer positions including Chairman.

While often quiet and unassuming, Jack Maxson was a true gentleman and mentor to many.  His calm demeanor and thoughtful leadership helped guide the Museum through several challenging periods.  His love of trains obviously ran in the family, as his uncle Everett L. DeGolyer, Jr. was one of the principal founders of the Museum.

Jack Maxson gave generously to the Museum, having funded a number of initiatives over the years.  He provided the initial gift of funds toward the Frisco project which helped kick off construction in 2011.  He also provided funding for strategic planning and specific restoration projects.  Jack had a particular fondness for the Santa Fe Railway and, no doubt, has had a positive influence the growth and breadth of the collection here at the Museum.

In addition to his love of railroads, Jack was a man of many accomplishments.  He had a passion for music and left an indelible mark on the entertainment industry.  The concert lighting and sound systems that we enjoy today were conceived and created in large part by Jack Maxson.  His creative genius in the music field culminated in the creation of Showco and Vari-Lite International – two respected companies that left a legacy in live entertainment.  Jack worked with many of the greats, including the Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Paul McCartney, and James Taylor.  Jack was the recipient of three Emmy awards for achievements in sound and lighting.

We will miss Jack’s steady hand of leadership on the Museum’s board, his impeccable attire, and his company during dinners at Mattito’s Mexican restaurant before board meetings.

Our sincere thanks to Jack’s daughter, Peggy, for establishing a memorial that directs contributions to the Musuem of the American Railroad.  We have been humbled by the generosity of Jack’s friends and family.  Contributions in his name will benefit continued operations and programming.

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