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Amy Y. Maxwell, 42, activist fostered 'smarter and cooler Buffalo'

April 11, 1975 – June 2, 2017

Amy Young Maxwell read a series of articles in The Buffalo News in 2004 entitled “The Incredible Shrinking City” and decided to do something about it.

With others, she was a founder of the grassroots organization, Revitalize Buffalo, aiming to build what she called “a smarter and cooler Buffalo.” She served for four years as its chairwoman.

“We’re trying to do our part to retain people and bring people in to Buffalo,” she told The News in 2005.

Revitalize Buffalo pitched in on the Central Terminal restoration project and stepped forward, in collaboration with the Western New York Coalition for Progress, to stage a Christmas festival in Chestnut Ridge Park in 2005 after Erie County shut down Santa’s Park during its budget crisis.

Her farsightedness and enthusiasm were recognized with an invitation to take part in the Leadership Buffalo program. In 2012, Buffalo Business First included her on its annual list of “40 Under 40” outstanding young professionals.

“She was a tireless worker, organized, strong, smart, but above all, she was relentlessly positive, a great friend, and filled with love,” attorney Alan Bedenko wrote in a blog headlined “Buffalo Lost a Great Friend in Amy Maxwell.”

“Anyone who knew her, loved her,” he added. “She was one-of-a-kind; an original. All of the good thoughts and feelings people have about Buffalo got a big boost from Amy Maxwell a decade ago.”

She closed her emails with the motto: “The bond that makes your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s lives.”

A high school classmate, Jeff Leichtnam, noted that she had a wide circle of devoted friends.

“She was her own personal LinkedIn network,” he said.

She died unexpectedly Friday in her North Buffalo home. Her family said that recently she had been showing improvement in her recovery from treatment for a meningioma brain tumor. She was 42.

Born in Seoul, South Korea, she was adopted at the age of five months by Meredith and James Maxwell. She was a 1993 graduate of Lockport High School and began her college education at American University in Washington, D.C.

She went on to take courses at Niagara County Community College and the University at Buffalo, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and government.

Recently she was completing work on her certification for medical coding as part of her work at Independent Health, where she had been a facility service liaison since 2015.

She previously worked for nearly 10 years as education coordinator for Hospice Buffalo, was a practice coordinator for Supportive Medical Partners and worked in the Small Business Department for First Niagara Bank.

She had numerous other talents and interests. She played piano for staff and visitors at Hospice Buffalo when she worked there. She was always available to fill in as a church organist. She also sang at many weddings.

An adventurous cook, she enjoyed skiing, swimming, tennis, kayaking and hiking in the Niagara Gorge. She frequently traveled to New York City and Washington, D.C., to visit cousins and attend Broadway shows and presentations at the Kennedy Center.

In addition to her parents, survivors include a brother, Jonathan.

Services will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Emmanuel United Methodist Church, 75 East Ave., Lockport.

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