In Memory

Barbara Stearns (Maxwell)

Barbara Stearns Maxwell, formerly of Knoxville, Tennessee passed away peacefully on July 26, 2012 at St. Luke’s Hospital in Boise, Idaho following a heart attack. She was 60 years old and had beaten the odds by surviving both lung cancer and breast cancer. Barbara was born on July 14, 1952 in Chicago, Illinois the daughter of the late Phillips T. and Helen M. (McCarty) Stearns. She attended New Trier High School in Winnetka, Illinois, graduating in 1970. She briefly attended the University of Arizona before moving back to Chicago and finishing her degree in photography and design from the Illinois Institute of Technology. She moved to Knoxville and took a job as a staff photographer at the Knoxville News Sentinel newspaper where she became the lead sports photographer. In 1982, she married David Maxwell and they had two boys Michael David Maxwell and Daniel Connery Maxwell. Barbara went back to school in mid career to pursue a law degree and graduated from the University of Tennessee Law School in 1995. She took a position as a labor attorney with the Tennessee Valley Authority, spent time on loan to the US Attorney’s office, and retired from the TVA in 2011. Barbara fulfilled her dream of watching her boys become loving, responsible young men. She was a warm, family focused, determined, fun, enthusiastic woman who loved any gathering of family and friends. She was passionate about cooking, especially Italian cooking, and loved all things Italian. Two days after her retirement she moved to Boise, Idaho where she enjoyed skiing, biking, knitting, fly fishing, gardening, ceramics, painting and floating the Boise River. She was a beautiful, graceful skier. Her final year of life was one of her most enjoyable and fulfilling. Her family and friends and all those whose lives she touched will greatly miss her. Barbara is survived by her sons Michael and Daniel Maxwell of Knoxville Tennessee, her brothers Phil Stearns of South Hamilton, MA, Jim Stearns of O’Fallon, MO and Steve Stearns of Boulder, CO and her sister Kathy Stearns of Boise, ID, her former husband David Maxwell of Knoxville, and her four nephews, an aunt, eight cousins and her dog Charley. The family will have a private gathering in Boise to celebrate Barbara’s life and a second gathering will be planned for friends and family in Knoxville, Tennessee. Arrangements are being handled by the Cremation Society of Idaho (208) 233-3590. The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Women Beyond Cancer, a nonprofit organization offering retreats to women dealing with cancer ( or call (803) 646-0123). "Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That is why they call it the present." - Master Oogway

Post Comment 05/04/14 02:24 PM 

Cathy M. Grossman (Hayden) Barbara, I will forever cherish all the years we grew up together.Our friendship was beyond compare!