Anna Lee Maxwell, better known as “Annie,” passed away on Saturday, March 7, 2020, surrounded by her children.

Annie was born on May 12, 1922, to Antonio “Tony” and Jesse Dagenhart Cesaroni and was the eldest of her three siblings, Ruth Thacker, Tony Cesaroni, Jr. and Mary Hill. Raised in Apalachicola, she attended St. Patrick Catholic School at St. Mary Star-of-the-Sea Convent until the eighth grade and then graduated from Chapman High School.

During her teenage years, she met her future husband, Elmo Maxwell. They became high school sweethearts and eventually married in 1943. After their wedding, they moved to Rhode Island where Elmo was stationed with the U.S. Navy during World War II. In 1948, Elmo joined the U.S. Air Force and they traveled throughout the United States raising their family, including being stationed in Taiwan on two separate occasions.

They had a total of six children, Elmo “Mickey” Maxwell, Jr. (Elizabeth), Joe Maxwell (Cheryl), John Maxwell (Sheri), Ronnie Maxwell (Margaret), Mary Parkhurst (Parky) and Jimmy Maxwell (Michele). While in Apalachicola after Elmo’s retirement, they adopted and raised two of their grandchildren, Kevin Maxwell (Miriam) and Ellis Maxwell (Brittany).

Annie was the ultimate caregiver who loved cooking for her family and anyone else. She was well known for her positive attitude and outlook on life. At 97, it was hard to find her without that sweet smile on her face. Quick to give a compliment, she had a gift for recognizing the positive qualities in others. Well-known for her molasses-like Southern drawl and high-pitch laugh, she always enjoyed conversing with others while sitting on her front porch swing. She never shied away from giving advice, whether the recipient wanted to hear it or not. The walls of her house were covered with pictures of family and friends. Her family was her proudest achievement.

Most importantly, Annie was a servant of God. She was a dedicated parishioner at St. Patrick Catholic Church, where she spent many hours volunteering, especially with the Lady’s Guild. She prayed often, especially for others. Her Christian faith was the foundation for the choices and actions in her life. She would routinely remind her loved ones to “Always put God first in your life.”

Annie and Elmo’s legacy continues through their six children, 16 grandchildren and 24 great-grandchildren plus two more on the way. The Maxwell family would like to especially thank Mary, Annie’s only daughter, for the many sacrifices she and her family made while providing additional care to Annie over the past several years.

The funeral service will be held at noon on Saturday, March 14 at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Apalachicola, with a dinner celebrating Annie’s life immediately following in the Parish Hall. The graveside service and inurnment of her cremated remains will follow the dinner at Magnolia Cemetery in Apalachicola.

Kelly Barber of Bevis Funeral Home is assisting the Maxwell family with their arrangements.