DESTIN — Retired Maj. Gen. William B. Maxson, former commander of the Air Armament Division at Eglin Air Force Base, has passed away.
Maxson died Thursday due to complications from heart surgery in Jacksonville. He was 82.
“He was always honest and straightforward,” said his wife, Nancy Maxson. “He was never self-serving. Whatever was best for the mission was the important thing.”
Bill and Nancy Maxson were married 60 years. Nancy hadn’t been exposed to military life before they were married, but the couple moved 35 times in the 32 years Maxson was in the Air Force.
“It doesn’t take much time to tear it down, but it takes a little bit of time to put back up,” she said of the moves.
Their daughter Suzanne was born in Texas and their son, retired Capt. Robert Maxson, was born in Kansas.
Bill Maxson flew 281 combat strike missions in Vietnam and was awarded the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross and 15 Air Medals. He commanded two strategic air command wings and Lowry Technical Training Center before he came to Eglin in 1981.
One of Maxson’s lasting contributions at Eglin was the Naval Explosive Ordnance Disposal School, Nancy said.
Maxson left Eglin in 1983 retired from the Air Force in 1984.
He also was awarded two Distinguished Service Medals, three Legions of Merit and the Defense Superior Service medal.
Even after leaving the area for an assignment in Los Angeles and then retiring to Washington, D.C., the couple remembered Northwest Florida and decided to move back a few years after his retirement, Robert Maxson said.
“He was very interested in his community,” he said. “He greatly enjoyed the people of Northwest Florida.”
They lived in Destin for several years before moving to Freeport until 2011. During that time, Maxson served on the Okaloosa County Planning Commission. He and his wife also volunteered for local organizations, particularly Northwest Florida State College, Robert said. Nancy still receives newsletters from the college.
“They really felt that it was an important part of the community and it served the community very well,” Robert said.
About 10 months ago, the Maxsons visited friends in a community in Atlantic Beach on Florida’s east coast, fell in love with the area and moved there.
“We’ve been so blessed that you have to save some room for the next generation,” Nancy said.
Contact Daily News Staff Writer Lauren Delgado at 850-315-4445 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @LaurenDnwfdn.