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(from the Commercial Appeal, 1/6/2013)

ETHEL TAYLOR MAXWELL, 97, prominent musical singing star and voice professor passed away peacefully at her home on January 3, 2013. Daughter of Dr. and Mrs. E.W. Taylor of Memphis, Ethel Taylor was educated at Hutchison School, Southwestern at Memphis (B.A.) and Memphis State University (M.A.).

She received vocal education in New York City where she was finalist runner-up in the Metropolitan Opera auditions and was in Oscar Hammerstein’s first Broadway show. Her performing career continued in Memphis as star of the Memphis Air Theatre from 1938-1950. She was soloist with the NBC orchestra, and sold war bonds with Abbot and Costello. Ethel married Early Maxwell, sports editor of the Evening Appeal and founder of public relations firm Early Maxwell Associates. It was Maxwell who approached Liberty Bowl promoter Bud Dudley in 1965 with the idea of relocating the game to Memphis. Early brought many attractions to Memphis including the Beatles in 1966. Early Maxwell Boulevard which leads to the Coliseum was named for the promoter.

Ethel Maxwell taught 35 years as Professor of Voice at Memphis State University and 10 years as instructor of music at Lausanne School for Girls. She was soloist for 10 years at Calvary Episcopal Church (1950-1960) and choir director for 20 years at St. Elizabeth’s Episcopal Church (1960-1980). During the 1950’s she sang the National Anthem each year on the Mississippi River barge to begin the May Cotton Carnival.

Mrs. Maxwell had many students with national and international singing careers including Richard Vernon who sang with the Metropolitan Opera for 27 years. Mrs. Maxwell served as president of the Beethoven and Renaissance music clubs and was a member of the Camarata club. She also served as a LeBonheur volunteer.

Mrs. Maxwell is survived by her daughters Ethel Maxwell Scrivener of Memphis, TN and Margaret Alice Maxwell of Corpus Christi, Texas; sister, Celeste Conn of St. Petersburg, FL and granddaughter, Meg Scrivener Dyck of Castle Rock, Colorado. Services will be held at Memorial Park Funeral Home on Wednesday, January 9, 2013. Visitation will be held from 12 noon until service time at 1 p.m. Burial will follow in Memorial Park Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be give to the Beethoven Club, Opera Memphis or MIFA Memorial Park Funeral Home, “Behind the stone wall”, 901-767-8930.

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