PASCAGOULA -- Robbie Maxwell, mayor of Pascagoula from 2009-2013, died Friday.
Arrangements are pending at Holder-Wells Funeral Home in Pascagoula.
The city recognized Maxwell in April with a Robbie Maxwell Day. At the time, Mayor Jim Blevins said Maxwell had "dedicated his life to public service and this community."
Retired city manager Kay Kell said Maxwell had encouraged her to work for the city. "He's a dear, dear man and was a very good friend of mine for years," said Kell, who retired in 2010.
Maxwell, a Pascagoula native, had a special love for the city, she said. "The thing about Robbie was that Robbie always saw the best in everyone," Kell said. "He believed in everybody."
As mayor, Maxwell oversaw the city's response to the 2010 BP oil catastrophe. Anchor Square and Arts on the Avenue were established under his tenure. He also oversaw completion of the Pascagoula River Blueway and construction of Pascagoula's Riverfront Development.
According to a family news release, he joined the National Guard before he turned 15. By age 17, he was a sergeant. He moved into the U.S. Army a year later, the family said, completed training in Georgia and was stationed in Germany.
In 1960, Maxwell returned to Pascagoula. The family said he worked 24 years at the Pascagoula Police Department, completing the FBI National Academy and Secret Service Dignitary Protection Program, He also served as Jackson County Youth Court administrator.
Maxwell then went to work as a field representative for Trent Lott, who was a U.S. representative at the time. When Lott moved to the U.S. Senate, Maxwell worked for him as an economic development specialist. In 2001, President George Bush appointed Maxwell director of the National Office of the Police Corps and Law Enforcement Education for the Justice Department.
The year he was elected mayor, Maxwell also founded with co-owner Scott Walker the Maxwell-Walker Consulting Group. Walker also had worked for Lott. The company was dissolved in 2014, according to state records, after Walker was caught up in a public corruption scandal and sent to prison.
Maxwell also was active in many community organizations, including the Mississippi Law Enforcement Officers Association, the Pascagoula Rotary Club and the Bacot-McCarty Foundation,
The news release quoted Lott as saying that Maxwell used to take short cuts when driving that often turned out to be "a longer, more circuitous route." The family referred to Maxwell's "short cuts" as "Robbie's Route." When they questioned his directions, the family said, Maxwell would tell them, "I'm a trained Army Pathfinder."
Maxwell died of Parkinson's disease, said his friend and brother-in-law, Jackson County Circuit Clerk Joe Martin.
Maxwell is survived by his wife, Jeanie, sons Nicky and Dane Maxwell, and daughters Robbie Perez and Amy Cobb.