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Maxine Marshall, Arizona Philanthropist and Journalist, Dies at 89

Longtime Paradise Valley resident, philanthropist, and journalist Maxine Marshall died on Wednesday, June 17. She was 89. 

Marshall owned The Scottsdale Daily Progress from 1963 to 1987 with her late husband Jonathan Marshall, who served as the progressive newspaper's publisher and died in 2008.

The Marshalls’ influence extended to Jewish life and philanthropy in several sectors including arts and culture, the environment, and education. Donations from their charitable foundation the Marshall Fund of Arizona, which operated from 1987 to 2002, funded the Marshall Gallery at Phoenix Art Museum, and a Modern and Contemporary Poetry Chair at Arizona State University now held by Cynthia Hogue.

Sam Campana, a Scottsdale City Council member from 1986 to 1994 and Scottsdale mayor from 1996 to 2000, describes Maxine as “Jonathan’s partner in every way.” 

Maxine was a writer and editor for the paper, which Campana credits with “really defining Scottsdale” and “influencing how the community grew.” The paper weighed in on every issue, recalls Campana, and had a significant impact on public policy.

The Marshalls also were founding members of Temple Solel, the first Jewish congregation in Paradise Valley, in 1966.

Richard Goldsmith, a partner with the Phoenix law firm Lewis Roca and longtime member of the Phoenix Art Museum’s board of directors, notes that Marshall was the first woman and the first non-attorney to serve as president of the board of directors for the Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest.

“She was always very enthusiastic about everything she did,” Goldsmith says, adding that, like Jonathan, she loved to talk politics. “There was never a dull moment with Maxine.”

In 2003, the Marshalls received the Governor’s Arts Award. Shelley Cohn, who served as executive director for Arizona Commission on the Arts from 1984 to 2005, says Maxine was “always an outspoken advocate” for the environment, arts and culture, and literacy. “She was always informed about current events and what’s important to the community.”

Many remember Marshall’s love for books, and for nature. Ken Schutz, executive director for Desert Botanical Garden, recalls dreaming 13 years ago of starting a Butterfly Pavilion. “Together they made a gift that made it possible,” he says. The pavilion closed in May, but the space is being used for an education center.

Schutz describes Maxine and Jonathan as “an incredible couple.” He calls Maxine, who loved to warm fragile butterflies in her cupped hands before they were released into the garden’s enclosed butterfly habitat for the first time, an “amazing lady.”

Schutz also praised the couple for being a much-needed progressive voice in a conservative state. Jonathan ran for U.S. Senate against Barry Goldwater in 1974, but was defeated. “There was a void created when they left publishing,” Schutz told us. “It was a sad day when that editorial voice went away.”

Paul Eckstein, who served on the board for the couple’s foundation, recalls their successful push for “open meetings and public records” legislation. “At the very least,” he says, “they acted to keep politics in the Valley somewhat balanced.”

She is survived by her two sons and two daughters. Eckstein says Maxine's funeral will take place at 4 p.m. on Sunday, June 21, at Temple Solel.

Editor's note: This post has been updated from its original version to correct the spelling of Paul Eckstein's name.

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Lynn Trimble is an award-winning freelance writer and photographer specializing in arts and culture, including visual and performing arts
Contact: Lynn Trimble

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