A resident of Florida since 1995, Mr. Maxwell, 73, died of congestive heart failure and cardiomegaly on Saturday, July 16, in a hospice home in Florida, said his wife, Judy.
Donald L. Maxwell, who got involved in Wheaton politics when he joined neighbors in opposing a proposed hotel, served on the western suburb's City Council for 11 years and stepped in as interim mayor on several occasions.
"He was one of the conservative members who wanted to see the city run right, and during our tenure, we made some significant advances to the city," said former City Council member Dan Fapp. "He was a hardworking individual who was a good public servant."
Mr. Maxwell moved to Wheaton in 1966 and not long after joined with neighbors in their fight against a proposed hotel on a 33-acre onetime polo farm on Roosevelt Road. The project ultimately was scrapped, and the Trees of Wheaton condominium complex now stands on the site.
For the next 25 years, Mr. Maxwell was part of a conservative political group in the city that included former Mayors Ralph Barger and Robert Martin. He served on the city's Plan Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals and ran a losing campaign for City Council 1981.
In January 1984, he was appointed to fill out the unexpired term of a council member who had resigned. He then won election to four-year terms in 1985, 1989 and 1993.
Over his years on the council, Mr. Maxwell served as interim mayor several times. But he never aspired to the post or ran for the office, his wife said.
Mr. Maxwell's tenure coincided with rapid development in Wheaton, both downtown and in the Danada area on the city's south side.
"He had a great impact on the development of Danada, and he also was proud of his work on the special taxing district in downtown Wheaton," his wife said.
Mr. Maxwell helped shepherd important issues through the council, including the implementation of the city's vote to allow liquor sales in 1985, the formation of the DuPage Water Commission and approval of cable TV and paramedics contracts, Fapp said.
"I respected Don a lot," said former Mayor Jim Carr. "He was frank and honest and helpful to me when I was taking over as mayor. He was a mentor, and he helped me out a lot."
Born in downstate Decatur, Mr. Maxwell received a bachelor's degree from Millikin University in 1963. He served in the Air Force and the Illinois Air National Guard, his wife said.
In the mid-1960s, he joined IBM in Chicago as a marketing representative. He worked with federal accounts including the Navy and Fermilab, his wife said.
"He was known in IBM during that time as 'Mr. Federal,'" she said.
He retired from IBM and resigned from the City Council in 1995, moving to Citrus Springs, Fla.
Mr. Maxwell also is survived by a son, Robert; a daughter, Kelly Parra; a sister, Jeannine Freyling; nine grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.